Queen heartbreak: Monarch refuses to take Christmas decorations down until February

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Her Majesty, 95, spent Christmas at Windsor Castle this year after cancelling plans to head to Sandringham in Norfolk. More than nine million viewers tuned in to watch her traditional Christmas speech, more than any other programme. Some 7.4 million tuned in on the BBC, with a further 1.7 million on ITV.

The monarch reflected on a year of personal grief, acknowledging the death of her husband Prince Philip and the ongoing devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

She spoke fondly of her “beloved Philip” and his “mischievous, enquiring twinkle”.

She also discussed Prince Charles, Camilla, Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge.

In previous years, Her Majesty has spent the festive season at the family’s Sandringham estate.

READ MORE: Princess Charlotte’s Christmas curtsy to the Queen: ‘She’s cheeky!’

She would traditionally travel there a few days before Christmas, having hosted her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren for an enormous festive lunch at Buckingham Palace in the days prior.

Upon arrival at Sandringham, the festive celebrations began on Christmas Eve with the opening of presents in the Red Drawing Room at 6pm — in line with the family’s German heritage.

Another tradition Her Majesty has followed is remaining at Sandringham until early February.

She would usually stay at the Norfolk residence to mark the anniversary of her late father King George VI.

He died within six weeks, having passed away in his sleep from a coronary thrombosis on the morning of February 6.

He was just 56, while his daughter was only 25.

On that day nearly 70 years ago, Elizabeth and Philip were in Kenya on a royal tour.

They found out and immediately returned home.

Her Majesty marks the anniversary of his death in private each year before returning to duties.

Less than a month after George VI’s death, the Queen penned an emotional letter to Sir Eric Miéville, who had served as Assistant Private Secretary to her father before moving to India to assist with the period leading up to the country’s independence.

The letter, signed ‘Elizabeth R’, her new signature as Queen, said: “It all seems so unbelievable still that my father is no longer here and it is only after some time has passed one begins to realise how much he is missed.”

Her Majesty said she was “thankful” he had died in his sleep, and revealed Philip and Charles, three at the time, and Anne, one, were helping her grieve.

She added: “My mother and sister have been wonderful, for they have lost so much — I do have my own family to help me.”

The Queen enjoyed a remarkably close relationship with her father, and he once described his eldest daughter as his ‘pride’, while youngest daughter Margaret was his ‘joy’.

It is not clear whether the Queen will request Windsor Castle’s Christmas decorations remain up until February 6.

Both Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace are traditionally decked with huge 20ft Christmas trees and fairy lights, while Sandringham’s decorations are a little more understated.

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