The royal parents were given the Queen's blessing to spend the holidays as a new family with Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and their baby son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor
Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and their 7-month-old son Archie skipped Christmas with the Queen this year, but they weren’t far from her mind.

During her annual Christmas address on Wednesday, the monarch, 93, gave her great-grandson a special shout-out.

“Two hundred years on from the birth of my great, great grandmother, Queen Victoria, Prince Philip and I have been delighted to welcome our eighth great grandchild into our family,” she said.

“Of course, at the heart of the Christmas story lies the birth of a child: a seemingly small and insignificant step overlooked by many in Bethlehem. But in time, through his teaching and by his example, Jesus Christ would show the world how small steps taken in faith and in hope can overcome long-held differences and deep-seated divisions to bring harmony and understanding.”

The royal parents were given the Queen’s blessing to spend the holidays as a new family with Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland.

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas address
| Credit: Steve Parsons/Getty Images

The royal couple are currently on a break from royal duties and spending the holiday with Archie and Doria in Canada. 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.

“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 in November. “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 posted an early morning message on their official Instagram on Christmas Day, 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 released an adorable card featuring Archie in the lead-up to Christmas.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's 2019 holiday card

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Meghan and harry
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
| Credit: Shutterstock

The Queen’s speech comes just weeks after her son Prince Andrew’s announcement that he has quit public duties amid his ties to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein. The fallout from Andrew’s disastrous BBC interview about his friendship with the convicted sex offender saw his official royal role collapse to almost nothing in a matter of days. He was removed from his hundreds of charitable patronages and his office was forced out of Buckingham Palace.

In her speech, the monarch spoke of the past year, which she admits has been a trying one.

“Many of us already try to follow in his footsteps. The path, of course, is not always smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of difference,” she said.