Queen cancels Christmas at Sandringham over Covid safety and will celebrate at Windsor

The decision was a personal one, a royal source said

Ella Glover
Monday 20 December 2021 21:40 GMT
Queen cancels Christmas at Sandringham
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The Queen has cancelled her plans to celebrate Christmas at Sandringham House amid Covid fears.

Buckingham Palace confirmed to The Independent that Her Majesty will spend Christmas and New Year at Windsor Castle instead of travelling to her home in Norfolk as she usually would.

A royal source said the decision was a personal one taken after careful consideration, reflecting a precautionary approach.

Family will be visiting the Queen at Windsor and sensible precautions and all appropriate guidelines will be followed.

It follows an earlier decision to cancel her traditional pre-Christmas family lunch that would have taken place tomorrow (21 December).

The lunch is usually attended by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as her cousins the Gloucesters, the Duke of Kent and the Michaels of Kent, and takes place at Buckingham Palace before the Queen heads to Sandringham.

This year is the Queen’s first Christmas without the late Prince Philip, who died in April 2021.

Last year, the two spent Christmas Day together at Windsor Castle without the rest of the family.

The move follows the advice of England’s chief medical officer to limit social contact over Christmas.

At a Downing Street press conference last week, Chris Whitty said: “Don’t mix with people you don’t have to.”

He added: “I really think people should be prioritising those things – and only those things – that really matter to them.”

On Monday the UK reported 91,743 new coronavirus cases, the second highest daily figure since the start of the pandemic.

However, the government announced no new restrictions following a long emergency cabinet meeting that took place on Monday afternoon, although the prime minister Boris Johnson said the government will not rule out further measures.

“Unfortunately I must say to people that we will have to reserve the possibility of taking further action to protect the public, to protect public health, to protect our NHS,” he said.

“We are looking at all kinds of things to keep Omicron under control and we will rule nothing out.

“But at the moment, what I think we want people to focus on is exercising caution – so ventilation, masks in the appropriate places, all the usual stuff about washing hands, but remember how contagious Omicron really is.”

Additional reporting by PA

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