The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent New Year’s Eve in California with their son Archie for the first time, unable to see their family for months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Just days before the first anniversary of their bombshell announcement to step down as senior royals, the couple released the first episode of their Archewell Audio podcast, in which they and Archie wished listeners a happy new year. They also published a “letter for 2021” on their Archewell website in which they shared their wishes for a better world.
They wrote: “We believe in the best of humanity. Because we have seen the best of humanity.
“We have experienced compassion and kindness, from our mothers and strangers alike.”
They concluded: “In the face of fear, struggle and pain, it can be easy to lose sight of this.
“Together, we can choose courage, healing and connection. Together, we can choose to put compassion in action.”
READ MORE: Princess Charlotte made first curtsy to Queen on Christmas Day
This year, the couple welcomed in the new year very differently to three years ago, when their celebrations were far more high profile as they “partied like tycoons” in Monaco.
Before Archie’s birth, the Sussexes were known for their party lifestyle and in December 2017, Harry took his then-fiancee to the French Riviera to celebrate with friends.
The group is said to have included Prince Albert of Monaco and his wife, Princess Charlene.
A source said at the time: “Harry and Meghan were somewhere very private and very expensive.
These comments, told to the MailOnline, highlighted the glitzy lifestyle the royals were leading at the time, flying around the world, in comparison to 2020 which brought heavy travel restrictions.
Monaco’s royals were quick to play down the partying, however, with a spokesperson saying: “It must have been private if it was the case, but I don’t know about it at all.”
Harry and Meghan also had to make sure they had an effective security operation during their trip, which they took via a commercial airliner, amid criticism of private jet use by royals.
They were accompanied by three bodyguards on a British Airways flight from London to Nice on New Year’s Eve, where they took up three rows of economy seats.
Once they arrived, they boarded a helicopter for a seven-minute trip to Monte Carlo before spending two nights in the principality.
This year, the couple have chosen to focus on their work, which consists of their podcast, Archwell Audio, their Netflix partnership, Archwell Productions, and their non-profit, the Archwell Foundation.
Alongside their letter for 2021 on the Archwell website homepage, the couple uploaded photos of Prince Harry with Princess Diana and Meghan with her mother Doria Ragland.
The couple wrote: “I am my mother’s son. And I am our son’s mother. Together we bring you Archwell.”
They added: “We invite you to join us. As we work to build a better world, one act of compassion at a time.
On their podcast holiday special, released on December 29, the couple could be heard speaking to Archie, as they said together: “Happy… New… Year. Boom!”