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Duke and Duchess of Cambridge lead Christmas Day messages as they share mental health support

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·6-min read

Watch: Harry, Meghan and Archie feature on family Christmas card

Prince William and Kate have led Christmas Day messages on social media as they face a festive season apart.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who are having a smaller gathering this year, said their thoughts are with those who are spending the day alone or on the front line.

As well as sending their wishes for a better 2021, the royals shared the details of support services - including Shout! which the duke has previously volunteered for.

In the post, they wrote: “This Christmas our thoughts are with those of you who are spending today alone, those of you who are mourning the loss of a loved one, and those of you on the frontline who are still mustering the energy to put your own lives on hold to look after the rest of us.”

William and Kate added: “Wishing a merry Christmas doesn’t feel right this year, so instead we’re wishing for a better 2021. For those struggling today, there is support available: @GiveUsAShout @MindCharity @samaritans @theCALMzone @TheSilverLineUK @OurFrontlineUK @NHSCharities.”

Meanwhile on the Royal Family’s instagram page, a happy birthday message was shared for Princess Alexandra, the Queen’s cousin, who turns 84 on Christmas Day.

They also shared a video of the choir at St George’s Chapel singing We Wish You A Merry Christmas.

Although the Queen is at Windsor Castle, she will worship privately on Friday morning, in the hope of avoiding having crowds gather to see her at St George’s, which is in the castle grounds.

Charles and Camilla released this image to mark Christmas Day 2020. (Clarence House)
Charles and Camilla released this image to mark Christmas Day 2020. (Clarence House)

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla released a new photo, taken at Birkhall, where they spent the first national lockdown.

In the picture, taken by a member of their team, they look ready for a countryside walk, dressed in dark green jackets and holding staffs.

Posting the photo online, they said: “Wishing you all a happy Christmas and here’s to a better New Year!”

Both Charles and Camilla and William and Kate previously released the images which featured on their Christmas cards.

Harry, Meghan and Archie, now in California, also sent their Christmas card, choosing to use one of the Duchess of Sussex’s charities to share a new image of the trio.

Meghan’s mother Doria took the picture, which has been edited to give it an almost cartoon effect, in the garden of their Santa Barbara home.

A spokesperson for the couple said the tree would be replanted in their garden, and added that the ornaments had been handmade.

The Royal Family would usually be gathered at Sandringham House in Norfolk for Christmas, but this year they are scattered far and wide because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Rather than new photos taken outside the church at Sandringham as they make their way to the service, fans and watchers have to make do with the royal messages on social media.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are said to have left London, where they have been since September having returned from Norfolk for the new school year, before Tier 4 measures were announced.

Read more: Eat like the Queen at Christmas - how to have a royal festive season

EMBARGOED TO 2200 WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 16 MANDATORY CREDIT: Matt Porteous. Strictly for editorial use only. Not for use after December 31, 2021. The photograph must not be digitally enhanced, manipulated or modified in any manner or form and must include all of the individuals in the photograph when published. Handout image provided by Kensington Palace of the 2020 Christmas card of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge which features an image taken in the autumn by photographer Matt Porteous showing the Duke and Duchess with their three children Prince George (left), Princess Charlotte (right) and Prince Louis at Anmer Hall in Norfolk. THIS IMAGE IS PROVIDED FOR FREE EDITORIAL USE UNTIL DECEMBER 31, 2021 WHEN IT MUST BE REMOVED FROM ALL SYSTEMS AND THOSE OF YOUR SUBSCRIBERS. USE OF THE IMAGE AFTER THIS DATE WILL REQUIRE PERMISSION FROM KENSINGTON PALACE. THIS PHOTOGRAPH IS STRICTLY FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY, NO COMMERCIAL USE, INCLUDING SOUVENIRS, COVERS, ADVERTISING, PROMOTIONAL OR NON-EDITORIAL USE PERMITTED. THE PHOTOGRAPH CANNOT BE CROPPED, MANIPULATED OR ALTERED IN ANY WAY. NO CHARGE SHOULD BE MADE FOR THE SUPPLY, RELEASE OR PUBLICATION OF THE PHOTOGRAPH.
The Duke and Duchess with their three children Prince George (left), Princess Charlotte (right) and Prince Louis at Anmer Hall in Norfolk, from their 2020 Christmas card. (Matt Porteous/Kensington Palace)

They were spotted inadvertently breaking social distancing rules in Norfolk, when they arrived at a night time light trail at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate at the same time as the Earl and Countess of Wessex, who are also staying in the area.

A source at Sandringham said: “The two families were given separate consecutive slots to visit the trail just before it opened to the general public. They arrived and departed in their own family groups.

“As anyone with young children will know, there were moments on the 90-minute walk where it was difficult to keep the two family groups apart, particularly at bottlenecks on the trail.”

The Cambridges and the Wessexes are both said to have left their homes, in Tier 4 regions, before the new rules came into force.

As Kate’s family live in Berkshire, any hope of seeing them over the festive period were scuppered as the county was added to the Tier 4 list.

Read more: What time is the Queen's speech on Christmas Day and what channel is it on?

EMBARGOED TO 2200 WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 16 MANDATORY CREDIT: Clarence House. Strictly for editorial use only. Not for use after January 31, 2021. The photograph must not be digitally enhanced, manipulated or modified in any manner or form and must include all of the individuals in the photograph when published. Handout image provided by Clarence House of the 2020 Christmas card of the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall which features a photograph taken in the early autumn at Birkhall, Scotland, by a member of their staff. THIS IMAGE IS PROVIDED FOR FREE EDITORIAL USE UNTIL JANUARY 31, 2021 WHEN IT MUST BE REMOVED FROM ALL SYSTEMS AND THOSE OF YOUR SUBSCRIBERS. USE OF THE IMAGE AFTER THIS DATE WILL REQUIRE PERMISSION FROM CLARENCE HOUSE. THIS PHOTOGRAPH IS STRICTLY FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY, NO COMMERCIAL USE, INCLUDING SOUVENIRS, COVERS, ADVERTISING, PROMOTIONAL OR NON-EDITORIAL USE PERMITTED. THE PHOTOGRAPH CANNOT BE CROPPED, MANIPULATED OR ALTERED IN ANY WAY. NO CHARGE SHOULD BE MADE FOR THE SUPPLY, RELEASE OR PUBLICATION OF THE PHOTOGRAPH.
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall which features a photograph taken in the early autumn at Birkhall, Scotland, by a member of their staff. (Clarence House)

The Queen also had to abandon any hope of outdoor meetings with visiting relatives, as Windsor was included in the new tier, which is very close to a full lockdown.

Her youngest son Prince Edward and his family, in nearby Surrey, had been thought to be preparing to spend time with Her Majesty, but this can no longer go ahead.

Meanwhile Prince Charles and Camilla remain able to see some of their family as they are in Tier 2 Gloucestershire.

However instead of the five day bubble, they can only see two other households on 25 December itself.

Harry and Meghan are now based in California with their son Archie, who is one.

They spent last Christmas away from the royals as well, staying for an extended break in Canada, where they made their big decision to step back as senior members of the family.

The couple is in Santa Barbara, which earlier this month was subjected to a new level of restrictions, and will have impacted their Christmas.

They are likely to have a quiet family day with Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland.

Read more: Five unusual royal Christmas traditions past and present

When the Sussexes announced their Thanksgiving plans they revealed they would be eating homegrown vegetables from their garden, so they might be tucking into a similar meal on Friday.

The Queen ordinarily loves to host her large family at Sandringham, her home in Norfolk, where members arrive in order of seniority, except for Her Majesty herself, who is on hand to greet everyone.

Presents are opened on Christmas Eve, after tea, and a grand banquet with a black tie dress code is held.

On Christmas Day, the family attends church at St Mary Magdalene twice, at 9am and 11am, with members of the public lining up outside to catch a glimpse as they head in for the later service.

Her Christmas Day broadcast is pre-recorded and played on the television and radio at 3pm, and she would usually watch it with her family.

Watch: Harry and Meghan’s year in review