The Duke and Duchess of Sussex would be “happy to accept” an invitation to spend Christmas with the Royal family at Sandringham, it has been reported.
Sources close to the couple say that no arrangements have been made so far, but that it is highly unlikely they would decline any invitation to spend the festive season with the King.
A Christmas invitation would mark a significant warming in relations between Prince Harry and his father.
It would follow reports in The Telegraph that the Duke rang the King last week to offer him best wishes for his 75th birthday.
After a lengthy spell during which the two have barely spoken, the chat is understood to have marked a notable shift in tone.
The King also spoke on the phone with Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex. Prince Archie, four, and Princess Lilibet, two, are understood to have recorded a video of themselves singing happy birthday to their grandfather.
Number of damaging accusations
Friends of the Sussexes say the couple are keen to follow up this new rapprochement with a visit to Sandringham, the King’s Norfolk home, at Christmas, or to Balmoral in the summer.
A friend told The Sunday Times: “I can’t imagine the Sussexes would decline an invitation to spend time with His Majesty. As of yet, there have not been any invitations for the holidays.”
An invitation would come at the end of a year in which the Sussexes gave a series of interviews that included a number of damaging accusations against the Royal family.
Earlier this year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were asked to “vacate” their UK home just weeks after Harry’s book Spare was released.
Reports at the time claimed the move was sanctioned by the King and the decision removed their remaining foothold in the UK and further weakened ties with the Royal family.
Sources close to the Sussexes point out that without security cover or a place to stay in Britain, they would now require a formal invitation from the King or Buckingham Palace to stay on “protected property”.
‘Private conversations could be questioned’
The Duke and Duchess last spent Christmas at Sandringham in 2018, when after their walk to church on Christmas Day with the now Prince and Princess of Wales they were dubbed “the fab four”.
The Sussexes’ children have seen little of their cousins Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, eight, and Prince Louis, five, though the couples are known to have exchanged presents for each other’s children last year.
Friends of the Sussexes are understood to have grown aware that the leaking of details of their birthday call to the King could undermine attempts to bridge the divide with the Royal family.
In the wake of the publication of the Duke’s memoir Spare, one source close to the couple said: “They realise they’ve got to a place where private conversions and calls could be questioned if they’re going to be private.”
Following the publication of details about the birthday call, a royal insider told The Telegraph: “The King and Queen worry that if stories about phone calls and private conversations make it into the public domain they will be accused of leaking to the press, even if it’s obvious it didn’t come from them.
“They just think ‘it’s in the public domain, and public domain equals bad’.”
Buckingham Palace declined to comment.