Royals Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Send Special Christmas Message from Canada The royal couple are "spending private family time in Canada," the palace confirmed By Erin Hill Erin Hill Twitter Senior News Editor, PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines Published on December 25, 2019 06:08 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Shutterstock Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are having a festive Christmas morning! The royal couple, who are spending the holidays this year as a new family with Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland in Canada, posted an early morning message on their official Instagram, writing: “Wishing you all a very merry Christmas.” They accompanied their post with three festive emojis, including a Christmas tree, Santa and a snowman. They also added a Santa Claus hat to their joint monogram. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are currently on an extended break from royal duties in Canada with their 7-month-old son Archie and grandma Doria. They previously announced that they would take time off towards the end of the year amid concerns that the intense scrutiny they’ve faced has been tough on the couple. They also revealed that they would be spending Christmas this year with Meghan’s mother, instead of with the Queen and the rest of the royal family. Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Baby Archie Are Spending ‘Private Family Time’ in Canada “Having spent the last two Christmases at Sandringham, Their Royal Highnesses will spend the holiday this year, as a new family, with the Duchess’ mother Doria Ragland,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement in November. “This decision is in line with precedent set previously by other members of the Royal Family, and has the support of Her Majesty The Queen.” The couple’s Christmas message came as the rest of the royal family gathered for their annual Christmas walk to church on the Queen’s Sandringham estate in England. Meghan, 38, made her royal Christmas debut in 2017 shortly after she and Prince Harry, 35, announced their engagement. While pregnant with Archie, who the couple welcomed in May, they appeared alongside Prince William and Kate Middleton again last year. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's 2019 holiday card. The royal couple are “spending private family time in Canada,” the palace confirmed on Friday. “The decision to base themselves in Canada reflects the importance of this Commonwealth country to them both,” said the statement. “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.” It continued, “The Duke of Sussex has been a frequent visitor to Canada over many years, and it was also home to The Duchess for seven years before she became a member of the Royal Family. They are enjoying sharing the warmth of the Canadian people and the beauty of the landscape with their young son.” Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock Kate and William, both 37, previously spent Christmas away from Sandringham and the royal family’s annual celebrations. In 2016, they opted to spend the holiday with Kate’s family — and Prince George and Princess Charlotte were spotted attending a church service near Kate’s childhood home in Bucklebury. Can’t get enough of PEOPLE‘s Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more! On Monday, Meghan and Harry released their first Christmas card as a family of three. Starring front and center in the photo was 7-month-old Archie, who looked adorable staring at the camera. “Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. From our family to yours,” the card read.