Queen makes first public appearance after serious health concerns

David Wilco,Sam Russell
Sunday 08 January 2017 15:50
The Queen has recovered from a recent illness which prevented her from attending church over Christmas
The Queen has recovered from a recent illness which prevented her from attending church over Christmas

The Queen has attended church for the first time since a heavy cold kept her away from services over the festive period.

The monarch was joined by senior royals including the Duke of Edinburgh and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham on Sunday.

The Queen had prompted some speculation when she missed her regular appearances at the church on Christmas Day and New Year's Day because of the lingering respiratory illness.

She and Philip had been forced to delay their journey from Buckingham Palace to their Norfolk estate in the days before Christmas after she fell ill.

The Queen was greeted by a small crowd of people as she was driven the short distance to the church in a burgundy Bentley on Sunday, accompanied by Philip, who also suffered illness over Christmas.

She was dressed in royal blue, with a lighter blue blanket visible on her lap as they drove through the gates into the churchyard, past the waiting wellwishers.

Kate, wearing a grey furry hat and a forest green coat and black heels, walked the short distance to the church with smartly-dressed William. But there was no sign of Prince George or Princess Charlotte. The duchess celebrates her 35th birthday on Monday.

The rest of the Middleton family, Kate's sister Pippa, mother Carole, father Michael and brother James, also attended the service. Pippa was wearing a khaki double-breasted coat and a matching trilby hat and was accompanied by her fiance, financier James Matthews.

Although she has missed the church services and has not been in seen in public for several weeks the monarch has carried out other duties.

She presented Ray Wheaton, her Page of the Chambers, with the insignia of a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order, the court circular recorded.

There was applause from the crowd as the Queen left the church after the service.

She could be seen smiling as she departed in a Bentley with the Duke of Edinburgh, with the rest of the party returning to Sandringham House by foot.

Colin Bunn, 70, of Snettisham, Norfolk, said: "We live locally so we come to Sandringham quite frequently and were here on Christmas Day.

"She looked beautiful and came down the steps unaided."

His wife Pam, 67, said: "She looked good. She had a lovely outfit on and looked well."

Last week, it emerged that an armed guard nearly shot the monarch when she went for a late night stroll around Buckingham Palace's ample gardens.

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