The Queen's former spokesman has today warned Prince Harry needs to 'sort himself out' amid mounting speculation of a rift between the Duke and his older brother William.
Dickie Arbiter, who was press secretary to Her Majesty for 12 years, spoke out as it was revealed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would not be spending Christmas with the rest of the royal family at Sandringham.
Mr Arbiter said the Queen was 'pragmatic' and let her grandchildren 'get on with it' but said Harry has now 'got to decide what he wants to do.'
The 79-year-old made the comments on Nine News Australia after it was revealed Harry and Meghan confirmed they would be spending Christmas with baby Archie and his American grandmother Doria Ragland.
Harry, Meghan and Archie, pictured in South Africa in September, will spend Christmas with her mother Doria (together right at a Grenfell Tower event in 2019) rather than the Queen and Prince this year. Mother and daughter are expected to support the homeless in London over Thanksgiving, DailyMail.com has learned
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex today shared an unseen photo from Archie's Christening to celebrate Prince Charles 's 71st birthday today amid continuing rumours of a family rift over their Christmas plans
Mr Arbiter pointed to William and Catherine spending Christmas with her mother and father in 2012 and again in 2016, adding, 'so this is no big deal.'
Dickie Arbiter spoke out as it was revealed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would not be spending Christmas at Sandringham
He added the Queen may have expected such an announcement, but said it was a 'shame' the family would not be together.
He added: 'I think the Queen is letting [Harry] get on with it, she's very pragmatic and certainly understand that Harry's got mental health issues and they need to sort it out.
'But she's not heavy with any of the grandchildren and lets them get on with it.
'It's a pity that Harry and Meghan might not be there but Meghan has got family as well.'
Mr Arbiter did however warn that Harry 'needed to decide' what he wants to do as a royal and discussed the 35-year-old dropping out of the royal family, and the line of succession.
He said he hoped Meghan 'would help him' heal any alleged rift with his brother.
This candid shot of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was taken by a member of the pubic at Sandringham at Christmas 2017 - but the royal couples will be apart this year amid rumours of tensions between the brothers and their wives
Meghan Markle and her mother, Doria Ragland, could spend all of December together
He added: 'They have got to sort themselves out because this [rift] can't go on forever.
'Harry has got to sort himself out. He's got to decide what it is he wants to do.
The Queen, pictured in Aylesford earlier this month, has given Harry her blessing after her grandson called her yesterday at Buckingham Palace to let her know
'There is a lot of speculation about him dropping out of the royal family but he was born a prince and he'll die a price and there's no way he can escape from that.
'He's got to sort his relationship out with his brother. I don't think the animosity goes as far as Catherine.
'But there is a rift between the brothers and the body language between the brothers when they are together is not the best.
'Hopefully Meghan will help him sort it out.
'She was very relaxed, very calm at the Remembrance on Sunday] and Harry was very tense.'
On Monday the couple will start a six-week break from royal duties with a intimate Christmas together at their Windsor home, Frogmore Cottage, most likely.sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more
Her Majesty has given her grandson her full support but intriguingly royals sources said the monarch was in the dark about his festive plans until he called her at Buckingham Palace yesterday to decline her open invite.
The £2.4m overhaul of Frogmore Cottage (pictured) was approved by the Queen, who is a regular visitor to the Sussexes' new home out of London - the most
William and Kate have missed Christmas at Sandringham twice since 2012, but Phil