Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are currently on a six-week break from royal duties, and they're spending Christmas abroad

By Stephanie Petit and Simon Perry
December 20, 2019 01:20 PM
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Prince Harry is already the Duke of Sussex, but he may have a new title: Father Christmas!

The 35-year-old royal dad to Archie, 7 months, shared a special Christmas message with Scotty’s Little Soldiers, a charity for bereaved British Forces children — and he was dressed up for the occasion as Santa Claus himself.

Harry opened the video message with a jolly, “Ho, ho, ho!”

“I hear there are 190 of you there this year, so please cause as much chaos as humanly possible,” he said. “I also want to encourage you guys to look around and realize that you are part of a family.”

“Having met some of you a few years ago I know how incredibly strong you are,” the prince continued. “So yes, losing a parent is incredibly hard but I know that every single one of you by helping each other out that you will have an amazing future ahead of you and a fantastic Christmas as well. Your parents, they will never be forgotten and you will never be forgotten.”

Credit: Scotty’s Little Soldiers

The video was recorded earlier in December. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are currently on a six-week break from royal duties. “The duke and duchess have a full schedule of engagements and commitments until mid-November, after which they will be taking some much-needed family time,” a royal source confirmed to PEOPLE.

Prince Charles, Prince Harry and Archie
| Credit: Chris Allerton © SussexRoyal

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex already combined two traditions this holiday season: their monthly highlighting of worthwhile causes on Instagram and the “12 Days of Christmas”!

The royal couple shared a new post to their joint Instagram page on the first day of December, announcing the organizations they will follow for the month that fall under the umbrella theme of caring for those in need.

“Continuing our monthly tradition of highlighting accounts that do good, and inspired by the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ – we have selected twelve organisations caring for those in need – especially at this time of year,” they captioned a collage of photos from the charities.

Among the charities featured was Scotty’s Little Soldiers.

“With the festive holiday season upon us, it’s also a reminder to reflect on those in need – those who may feel lonely, hungry, homeless, or may be experiencing the holidays for the first time without loved ones,” the couple wrote. “It’s an important time of year to help those around you who may be less fortunate, or who would appreciate even the smallest act of kindness.”

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at Christmas 2018
| Credit: Stephen Pond/Getty Images

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Earlier in the day, Meghan and Harry used their joint Instagram page to reflect on last year’s Christmas, when they attended the annual Royal Variety performance and Meghan headed to the Brinsworth House, a residential and nursing care home owned and run by the Royal Variety Charity.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are skipping the annual holiday festivities at Sandringham — including their public walk to church on Christmas morning — with Queen Elizabeth and the rest of the royal family.

“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are looking forward to extended family time towards the end of this month,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement on Wednesday. “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. 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 is spending Christmas abroad with little Archie and with Meghan’s mother.