Queen Elizabeth may be "happy for a quieter household" after this year of upheaval, one former staffer quips

By Simon Perry and Monique Jessen
November 26, 2020 09:00 AM
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Prince William, Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton in 2018
| Credit: Paul Grover- WPA Pool/Getty

Prince William and Kate Middleton, and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are ending the year as they started it: An ocean apart.

And that means that the holiday festivities are going to be very different this year. While the arrangements have yet to be confirmed as they await updated governmental guidelines amid the second lockdown in England, Queen Elizabeth is certain of one thing: The traditions and the accompanying entertaining will be scaled down.

William and Kate are "are waiting to hear [about U.K. government guidelines] just like everyone else" about whether and where they can travel, a source tells PEOPLE in this week's issue. 'The children miss their great-granny, but it's the same rules for them as everyone."

The Queen, 94, is currently in isolation in Windsor Castle with husband Prince Philip, 99, and has yet to decide whether to stay there or head to her Sandringham Estate in Norfolk for the traditional Christmas and New Year's holiday.

Queen Elizabeth
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William, Kate and their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, will likely be based up the road from the main Sandringham house at their Anmer Hall mansion. But Harry, Meghan and their 1-year-old son Archie (set for their first American Thanksgiving in the U.S. on Thursday) will celebrate their first Christmas at their new home in Montecito, California, with Meghan's mom, Doria Ragland.

With the time of reflection around Thanksgiving, Meghan and Harry decided to talk openly about their recent pregnancy loss. In an emotional essay on Nov. 25, Meghan revealed she suffered a miscarriage in July.  "There is a lot of sadness around the family," a palace source tells PEOPLE.

Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Louis, Prince George and Princess Charlotte
| Credit: BBC
Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Archie
| Credit: Henk Kruger/AP/Shutterstock

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It has been a difficult year for the Queen, who has seen the rift between her grandsons William, 38, and Harry, 36, make headlines around the world, and Meghan and Harry exit the royal family in March.

With all the upheaval "she might want a rest — you never know," says a former staffer. "She might be happier for a quieter household this year."