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Queen and Philip to spend Christmas at Windsor Castle

By Tony Jones, PA Court Correspondent
·2-min read

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will spend Christmas at Windsor Castle and not Sandringham for the first time in decades, Buckingham Palace has said.

There has been speculation about where the Queen and Philip would enjoy the festive period after Covid guidelines forced families to choose who to see during the holidays.

The Queen and her consort, who are both well into their 90s, may see some members of their family briefly in accordance with guidelines, but Christmas celebrations are likely to involve just the couple.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: “Having considered all the appropriate advice, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have decided that this year they will spend Christmas quietly in Windsor.”

The head of state and her consort have not spent a Christmas at their Berkshire home since the mid-1980s.

It is understood the Queen will not be attending church on Christmas Day, to avoid large crowds of well-wishers gathering.

Under a relaxation of the coronavirus rules, three households can mix from December 23 to 27, but the bubble must be exclusive over the five-day period, meaning people cannot shift from one group to another.

The royal family traditional spend Christmas at Sandringham and go to church. Toby Melville/PA Wire
The royal family traditionally spend Christmas at Sandringham (Toby Melville/PA)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned families they must make a “personal judgment” about the risks of coronavirus to vulnerable loved ones.

The Queen and duke, like people across the country, are fortunate to have large family gatherings every Christmas.

But they are also aware family members will have competing demands on their time over the festive period and are content to enjoy the period quietly.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will spend Christmas Day at their Gloucestershire home of Highgrove, but are expected to see the Queen and duke at Windsor over the holidays, with Camilla also visiting her family.

The couple have spent much of the lockdown at Windsor Castle being looked after by a reduced number of staff dubbed HMS Bubble.

During the 1960s, when the Queen’s children were young, many Christmases were celebrated at Windsor.

But since 1988, when the castle was being rewired, royal Christmases returned to Sandringham.