Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s first Christmas almost exposed their then-private relationship

Their first festive season as a couple almost became very public

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend Christmas Day Church service
(Image credit: Photo by UK Press Pool/UK Press via Getty Images)

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s first Christmas together turned out to be more eventful than planned when their then-private romance was nearly exposed to the world. 

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s first Christmas together took place back in 2016 after around 6 months of dating. This came only a month after news that Prince Harry was seeing the American actor was supposedly revealed by the Daily Mail. However since no pictures of them together had been published yet, the popular couple still had a level of anonymity. 

Now a royal author has claimed that their first Christmas together almost changed this completely.

How did Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s first Christmas almost expose their private relationship?

Royal author Omid Scobie reportedly revealed this during a Q&A with co-author Carolyn Durand and CNN’s Max Foster, according to He suggested that the future Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s first Christmas in London as a couple very nearly became far more public than they intended after being asked about what stories didn’t make it into his and Durand’s book, Finding Freedom.  

Scobie revealed: “One of the stories that didn’t make the final cut was about their first Christmas in London”. 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend an official photocall to announce their engagement

(Image credit: Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images)

He added that “at the time, there was so much talk about their relationship” and that the couple “had gone out in London to buy their first Christmas tree together, and we later found out about that through one of the papers”.

However, Scobie claimed, this was not the whole story. “What we didn’t know is that someone had actually taken photos of the couple, and this was going to, much to their sort of surprise, this was going to be probably the first pictures that we saw of them,” he explained.

“But because it was so dark when they went shopping, those photos never saw the light of day, and they were able to enjoy a few more months of privacy”.

When were the first photographs of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry published?

Prince Harry and his now-wife Meghan might have hoped for a little more time away from public scrutiny, but the first clear pictures of the couple together are thought to have been published in February 2017. 

But whilst these earlier pictures of the happy couple may not have ended up being published, Hello! magazine ran the story of their adorable Christmas tree (opens in new tab) shopping trip back in 2016. 

The two were seen looking for a tree at Pines and Needles in Battersea and according to the publication, a spokesperson for the shop told Hello! Online that: “Prince Harry was with Meghan and hilariously the staff only recognised Meghan at first – they were so excited to have the girl from Suits there.”

The source then reportedly revealed exactly how long the couple took to decide, stating: "They arrived in a car and picked up a tree – they were there for about 15 minutes browsing and then having a look”. 

After viewing the selection they then “selected their tree and Harry carried it on his shoulder once it was netted up, back to the car."

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Finding Freedom by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex may regularly make headlines, but in this enlightening novel, Scobie and Durand delve into the unknown details of the couple’s life together. 

Where will Meghan Markle and Prince Harry be for Christmas 2020?

The couple’s time out of the spotlight did not last too long and a huge study has recently revealed that Meghan is the most popular royal worldwide (opens in new tab)

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent last Christmas in Canada with their son Archie. This year with the cancellation of the usual Royal Family gathering at Sandringham (opens in new tab) and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s move to settle in California, the couple will be celebrating in America (opens in new tab).

After an eventful first Christmas together, this year's family affair sounds wonderful. 

Emma Shacklock
Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.