Why Meghan and Harry's Christmas in Santa Barbara could bring back a bad memory for the royal couple

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex faced an upsetting ordeal at their California home last Christmas

Why Meghan and Harry's Christmas in Santa Barbara could bring back a bad memory for the royal couple
(Image credit: Getty)

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are expected to spend Christmas in Santa Barbara this year, but their festive celebrations could be overshadowed by this upsetting holiday memory. 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex may be avoiding potential Royal Family conflict by staying in California for the festive season, but that doesn't mean their holiday will be completely drama-free. 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will stay in the US for Christmas after months of speculation about their December plans, as rising Covid-19 rates shed doubts over travel plans and large gatherings. 

The royal couple and their children, Archie and Lilibet, will reportedly spend the winter break at their £14 million Santa Barbara mansion in Montecito, where they will likely be joined by the Duchess's mother, Doria Ragland. 

Doria Ragland

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expected to spend Christmas with Meghan's mom, Doria Ragland 

(Image credit: Getty)

On the other side of the pond, their British relatives are expected to join Her Majesty at Sandringham House for her traditional Christmas celebrations—if they go ahead, that is. The Queen has already canceled her pre-Christmas lunch due to fears over the Omicron variant of Covid-19, and if infections continue to rise, the big day's festivities could be completely called off. 

Queen Elizabeth II prior to the recording of her Christmas Day broadcast to the Commonwealth

The Queen has called off her annual Christmas lunch 

(Image credit: Photo by John Stillwell/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

While the Sussexes will likely reduce their chances of catching the virus by avoiding air travel, their decision to stay local isn't without risk. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s house was 'invaded twice' by the same suspect over Christmas last year, prompting major security concerns for the couple and their young kids. 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle face security concerns this Christmas

(Image credit: Photo by Chris Jackson - Pool/Getty Images)

Nickolas Brooks, 37, entered the property on December 24, after driving over 2,000 miles across the country from Ohio. Despite receiving a warning from police, he returned to the house on December 26, only to be arrested and charged with one count of misdemeanor trespassing.

The frightening home intrusion occurred just a few months before Prince Harry alleged to Oprah Winfrey that Buckingham Palace had cut off the couple's security following their withdrawal as senior royals. 

'The biggest concern was that while we were in Canada, in someone else' house, and then I got told at short notice that security was going to be removed," he said during the explosive CBS interview in March 2021. 

"So suddenly it dawned on me, hang on a second, the borders could be closed, we're going to have our security removed, who knows how long lockdown is going to be.

“The world knows where we are. It's not safe. It's not secure.”

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.