Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Queen cancels palace Christmas party

The Queen has cancelled this year's Christmas party for her staff because of the "difficult financial circumstances" facing the country.

The 600 members of the Royal Household had been expecting to attend a festive celebration, with a guest, which the Queen usually pays for every two years, at Buckingham Palace.

A Palace spokesman said today: "The Queen is acutely aware of the difficult economic circumstances facing the country. It was decided it was appropriate for the Royal Household to show restraint and therefore not hold the party this year."

Staff had been expecting the party to be held in December.