Her Majesty the Queen is preparing for her first Christmas without Prince Philip by her side – but Covid has ruined her plans.
Our monarch has kept cautious throughout the pandemic and made the tough decision to cancel Christmas at Sandringham and many of the traditions that come with it.
To ensure a Covid-safe Christmas, Her Majesty will remain at Windsor Castle but according to experts, she won’t be left alone.
Katie Nicholl told True Royalty TV's The Royal Beat: “I simply cannot believe the family will allow it to happen, I don’t think it will happen.”
According to royal commentator Phil Dampier, the monarch, 95, will have no more than 15 family members in her company on Christmas Day – Prince William and Kate Middleton included.
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He told the Sun: “It wouldn't surprise me if Prince Charles and Camilla, Prince Andrew and possibly Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex and maybe some others – a small hard core of people – join her for lunch.”
The Royal Family usually engage in post-lunch parlour games, generous (and silly) gift giving and of course the local church service, but it’s understood that all this will be scaled back.
Mr Dampier added: “Obviously it's going to be much smaller and it's going to be similar to last year. The one big difference is that Prince Philip is not going to be there.
The family, he says, enjoy a 1pm Christmas lunch each year – “they don’t hang about” – before gathering to watch the Queen’s speech.
“They will probably have some sort of church service, or religious service in the morning, in the private chapel inside the castle or in St George’s chapel.
“And then I suspect they will have drinks as normal before lunch.”
It’s thought that with reduced numbers, Her Majesty will miss out on seeing her great-grandchildren opening their presents, playing and running about together.
But, says Mr Dampier, there may not be joke-y presents for the adults either.
“I think all of that will go out the window. They just won’t want people mixing very much.
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“And then in the evening they used to play games of charades and things – but again I think that will be out of the window.
“And obviously there won't be a shoot on boxing day morning which there would have been up at Sandringham.”
It’s a huge blow for the Queen, who spent her last Christmas with Prince Philip isolating at Windsor.
She’s also cancelled her annual royal get-together lunch, but the Palace said it was “the right thing to do.”
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