Her Majesty, 95, opted to stay at Windsor Castle and had a much smaller celebration than normal due to concerns over the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant. Prince Charles and Camilla, as well as the Wessexes, were in Windsor on the day so the Queen would not be alone for her first Christmas without her beloved husband, Prince Philip. Usually, the Royal Family all gather at Sandringham for a festive period that is tightly scheduled and runs like clockwork.
The Queen then stays in Norfolk until February 6, the anniversary of the death of her father, also known as her Accession Day, when she became Queen.
She marks the day privately before heading back to Buckingham Palace to start the year’s packed schedule of engagements.
However, this year has started differently, as she spent Christmas and New Year in Windsor instead.
That said, Daily Mirror royal editor Russell Myers explained that the Queen had been very much looking forward to going to Sandringham and will want to get back there when she can.
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Pod Save the Queen is hosted by Zoe Forsey and features Mr Myers.
In a Christmas episode last week, he said: “I’m sure the Queen will want to go back to Sandringham at some stage and carry on the tradition, she certainly didn’t get the chance to go last year.
“And she was very much looking forward to it.
“She had travelled in November, she was meeting and speaking with staff, not only when she was there but also on the telephone and through her aides, to make sure all the preparations were made.
Usually on Christmas Day, Her Majesty goes to a private service in the morning, before going with the whole family to St Mary Magdalene Church at 11am, where hundreds of well-wishers gather.
This year, there was no public church walk or meet and greet, but photographers were allowed inside the estate and took pictures of Prince Charles and Camilla, Prince Edward and Sophie, as well as the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester as they went inside St George’s Chapel for a morning service.
However, the Queen was not in attendance.
Princess Anne did not go to Windsor, likely because her husband Timothy Laurence tested positive for Covid just days before Christmas.
The Queen’s only daughter has been named the hardest working royal in 2021, meaning she carried out the most engagements throughout the year.
This is a title she has held for many years.
Another “casualty of Covid” was the Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace, which usually takes place about a week before the big day.
This lunch is for the extended family that do not necessarily go to Sandringham but do want the opportunity to catch up with their relatives.
However, this was cancelled for the same reason: to avoid it being a so-called “superspreader” event and to protect the numerous elderly people who would be in attendance.
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