Meghan Markle and Prince Harry smile at daughter Lilibet as Archie looks on in festive message

A message alongside the photo reads: 'This year, 2021, we welcomed our daughter, Lilibet, to the world.'

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have sent their best wishes to supporters in a message featuring the first publicly-released photograph of their baby daughter Lilibet.

The card shows Harry and Meghan smiling at Lilibet as the duchess holds her aloft, while their son Archie sits on his father’s knee.

The couple wishes supporters “happy holidays” in the card, which was sent via email through the Archewell charity they co-founded in 2020.

A message alongside the photo reads: “This year, 2021, we welcomed our daughter, Lilibet, to the world.

“Archie made us a ‘Mama’ and a ‘Papa’, and Lili made us a family.”

Photographer Alexi Lubomirski, who snapped the photograph at the couple’s Santa Barbara home in California, described his work on Instagram as “one of those rare and special projects, that one is fortunate enough to be a part of”.

Mr Lubomirski said he had first photographed Meghan and Harry as an engaged couple, and then on their wedding day and as a married couple.

He said that “now seeing their love manifest into two beautiful children” had been a “delightful honour”.

“To be trusted by your subjects enough, to open themselves up and have their connection documented and translated into an image, is one of the greatest gifts a photographer can have,” he said.

“This day with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex was one such joyous experience, and one that I feel extremely privileged to have been invited to capture.”

In the photograph, the couple and their two-year-old son Archie are smiling and relaxed, casually dressed in jeans, alongside six-month-old Lilibet, dressed simply in white.

Toddler Archie’s vivid curly red hair is visible in the photograph, prompting comparisons with father Harry.

Harry and Meghan said they had made donations “on your behalf to several organisations that honour and protect families, from those being relocated from Afghanistan, to American families in need of paid parental leave”.

The organisations include Team Rubicon, Welcome.US, Human First Coalition, Humanity Crew, Paid Leave For All, PL+US and Marshall Plan for Moms.

The couple wish supporters a “happy holiday season and a prosperous new year, from our family to yours”, though they do not reference Christmas in the card.

Harry and Meghan met with Team Rubicon, a disaster relief charity staffed by veteran volunteers, earlier in the year during a visit to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

They visited Task Force Liberty, home to 10,000 Afghan refugees being housed at the US military base.

As part of their visit, the couple led a class of children learning English in singing Head, Shoulders, Knees And Toes, which they described as a favourite of two-year-old Archie.

A spokesperson for Archewell said the couple’s donation will support resettlement sites like Task Force Liberty across the country.

Welcome.US chief executive Nazanin Ash said: “Welcome.US is mobilising an all-country response to support our new Afghan neighbours, and we are honoured to receive support from Archewell Foundation and Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, in this effort.

“With this generous gift, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not only help thousands of Afghan families as they rebuild their lives, but will also create opportunities for all of us to unite through compassionate service and common purpose.”

Archewell added that paid parental leave was “something The Duchess of Sussex has previously noted is a humanitarian issue that she believes must be urgently addressed in the United States”.