Prince Harry and Meghan Markle might spend the New Year in London or earlier but the festive season is not why they have to temporarily leave the United States.
According to Daily Express, Jan. 11, 2021 is going to be a very important date for Meghan Markle. It's the start of her trial at the High Court against the Associated Newspapers, the owner of the publication she's suing for data privacy breach.
The Duchess of Sussex may choose to attend the first day of trial in person. If she does, she will need to comply with the mandatory 14-day quarantine following her trip from the U.S. before she steps out in a public venue.
This means that the Sussex family will have to be in London around Dec. 27 if Meghan has to be in court two weeks later. There are also speculations that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex might be in the U.K. to join the royal family for Christmas in Sandringham. If this is the case, they have to be in the country around the second week of December to comply with the self-isolation rules before mingling with other people.
However, conflicting reports revealed that Harry and Meghan have a different Christmas plan. They are reportedly keen on having an intimate gathering with some close friends to mark their first Christmas at their newly-purchased Montecito, California home.
A source said that Meghan is excited about planning what she'll cook for guests like David Foster and Katherine McPhee. She also wants to do the Christmas traditions she loved as child, while a holiday with the royal family is not part of their plans this year.
Besides, the U.K. government's rule currently restricts a gathering of more than six people, including family events. However, insiders at the prime minister's office think this will be lifted closer to the Christmas holidays.
Meanwhile, legal experts not tied to Meghan's lawsuit said that the duchess should consider dropping the complaint. Atty. Mark Stephens said in interview with Newsweek that Prince Harry's wife will risk her reputation during the cross examination in the trial.
The Duchess of Sussex will likely be grilled in detail about her branding in the press, while under oath. She would also be questioned about her ties to the biography Finding Freedom.
Stephens said that Meghan might experience the Streisand effect, referring to the 2003 lawsuit Barbara Streisand filed against the paparazzi. Her attempts to prevent the tabloid press from taking photos of her house backfired because more people ended up scrutinizing and looking for the pictures.
Image consultant Eric Schiffer also said that Harry and Meghan's PR strategy shows inexperience and unsophistication. He believes this trial will expose the cracks and could further result in a backlash against Meghan Markle's relationship with the tabloid media, which could be empowered to uncover more of the Duchess of Sussex's life.