Queen Elizabeth is set to make a decision on her Christmas plans in the next 48 hours, reports suggest, after it was revealed she may abandon plans to host family festivities at the royal estate in Norfolk because of coronavirus.
Her majesty missed her usual church service at Windsor yesterday as part of the measures being taken to protect the traditional Christmas celebrations, which have been held at Sandringham since 1988.
The Queen, 95, is set to leave for Sandringham on Wednesday, according to the Sun, and staff are working to prepare the rooms in anticipation that she will be joined by family.
This will be the first Christmas the Queen has marked since the death of her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, earlier this year and it is understood that family members are preparing to rally round her so she does not have to spend it alone.
Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their children, Prince Andrew and daughters Beatrice and Eugenie and Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex’s family are expected to make the trip to join the Queen for the festivities this week.
The Queen is still keen to go to her beloved 20,000-acre estate at Sandringham, where she normally stays until early February – particularly as she spent last year at Windsor alone apart from her late husband and a handful of staff, due to lockdown.
A source confirmed to the Mail on Sunday that the Queen’s Christmas plans are under review and added: ‘There is a strong desire for it to be as normal as it can be but obviously this is subject to practical concerns.’
It is unlikely the 95-year-old Monarch will join the 200-strong congregation at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham for the traditional Christmas Day service.
Instead, she is expected to attend a private service similar to last year when a Royal chaplain delivered a sermon and readings.
But there are alternative plans in place. Should the risk of Omicron be considered too great for the Queen, who has recently suffered a bout of ill- health, then a scaled-back celebration could be held at Windsor Castle.
The Mirror reports that a decision will be made in the next 48 hours and that a palace source said the Queen will ‘lead from the front’ if the Government decides to issue any further advice about mixing over the Christmas period.
The source told the newspaper: ‘The Queen and the rest of the family are mindful the situation is ever changing and many thousands of families may also be affected.
‘A decision on whether the queen travels as planned will be made as soon as possible.’
While the Queen has been forced to pull out of several engagements over the past two months – including a visit to Northern Ireland – she has been well enough to carry out her duties as head of state.
Last week, she was seen taking part in video calls and a Palace source confirmed she had been walking unaided in London to honour a diary commitment after travelling to the capital from Windsor.