There were three fewer plates on the table at Sandringham Estate, where Queen Elizabeth and the Royal Family traditionally gather for Christmas, which probably made for a quieter occasion.

Deciding to turn down the chance for the annual holiday feast of turkey at the monarch's Norfolk digs, Prince Harry, his wife Meghan Markle and their seven-month-old son decided to celebrate the holidays in Canada instead.

Palatial Getaway

Finding a palatial getaway outside Toronto, the Sussex household travelled to the former dominion, a sentimental location in the couple's lives. Both have formed a great deal of friendships and retained several fond memories from their individual periods spent in the country, particularly in Toronto.

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For Prince Harry, Toronto was the location of the Invictus Games in 2007. The athletic competition was founded by the prince, a lieutenant in the Royal Air Force, to help war veterans wounded in action recover from their injuries and fight the hapless wounded warrior stigma. As for Markle, who was an actor before becoming the Duchess of Sussex, Toronto was where she spent several years filming the legal eagle TV drama Suits.

Importance Of Canada

“The decision to base themselves in Canada reflects the importance of this Commonwealth country to them both,” said a statement issued from Buckingham Palace before the holidays.

“Whilst this email confirms the country they are taking their family time in, for security reasons we will not be releasing any further details and request that their privacy is respected.”

Harry, in particular, has been concerned over the media attention on his family since his 2018 wedding to Markle, a biracial American divorcee. British media have played up Markle's background, while others speculated that her background wasn't going to go over well among the more staunch member of the royal family.

Christmas Card

Rumours of a rift between Harry and his brother Prince William have been media fodder for months, creating some royal watchers to comment that the Canadian vacation is symptomatic of the siblings wanting to put some distance between them.

Still, all that talk hasn't hampered the spirit of the Sussex clan, having released their first Christmas card as proud parents. In it, both parents gaze at their young boy, who hogs the spotlight, vaulting the cuteness factor into overdrive.