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They have chosen to spend baby Archie’s first festive season away from Sandringham.
The Sussexes could stay at home in Windsor or travel abroad to be with Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland.
A source said that the couple — parents to six-month-old Archie — “needed to recharge their batteries.”
But their decision will do little to heal the rifts that have opened up with the rest of the Royal Family.
The couple are taking a six-week break after Sunday when Harry, 35, attends a Royal Albert Hall event.
It was thought they would spend Thanksgiving in the US with Doria, 63, and return for Christmas at Sandringham.
But they informed Her Majesty, 93, they will not be joining her and Prince Philip, 98.
A royal source said: “They need some time away to recharge and decide their plans for next year.”
Harry has always spent Christmas at the Queen’s Norfolk home, except for 2012 when he was in Afghanistan — and for the past two years he has been joined by Meghan, 38.
Royal biographer Ingrid Seward said: “Christmas at Sandringham can be quite stressful so perhaps they don’t want to go with Archie at such a young age.
“Having said that, Sandringham has played host to many many children through the ages and is well set up for them.
“I think it’s sad they don’t want to be part of the family gathering, particularly now the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are in their dotage.
“The Queen might be a little hurt but she’s far too gracious to ever let it show or be known.”
Meghan and Harry also skipped the royals’ annual holiday in Balmoral this year.
Seward added: “It does seem to be nothing to do with Archie and to do with their own personal feelings.”
Ex-US actress Meghan revealed in an ITV interview this year how the “British stiff upper lip” was “damaging” — causing concern among royals.
One insider said: “That’s the very essence of this family.”