The Queen, who is set to spend her first Christmas in 73 years without Prince Philip by her side, will commemorate her late husband in a special service for him next year
The Queen has agreed that a memorial service for Prince Philip will take place in the Spring of 2022 at Westminster Abbey.
The Service of Thanksgiving for the life of the Duke of Edinburgh, who died aged 99 in April just weeks from his centenary, will provide an opportunity for the nation and the hundreds of charities and organisations he was associated with to pay tribute to the Queen’s husband of 73 years.
The exact date is to be confirmed but royal sources said the guest list would include members of the royal family, friends, dignitaries and representatives of organisations he represented.
Prince Philip had a long and successful Naval career before becoming a senior member of the royal family.
Royal insiders have said it would provide the “perfect opportunity” for the Queen to bring her family together again after her Christmas plans to host them at her Sandringham home were ruined due to the surging covid rates.
It would also be a chance to invite the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to Britain in a bid to ease the tensions that have left relations between Harry and Meghan and much of the rest of the family strained.
Buckingham Palace said the date of the service would be reliant on coronavirus infection rates subsiding and will take place within the relevant guidelines of the time.
Earlier this week, the Queen revealed that she would not be travelling to Sandringham as per her normal Christmas tradition, where she was expecting to host around 50 guests made up of family and friends.
New covid variant Omicron put pay to the plans as daily infections of the virus surpassed 100,000 for the first time since the pandemic began.
But the royal family won’t be completely robbed of all festive cheer after it was announced that Prince Charles and Camilla would join Her Majesty on Christmas Day at Windsor Castle.
The move ensures that the Queen will not face her first Christmas Day without her late husband alone.
Last year the monarch was forced to cancel plans to go to Sandringham for Christmas in the midst of covid concerns, but had isolated there with Prince Philip.
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Historically the Queen would travel to Sandringham a week before Christmas, welcoming her first invited guests on Christmas Eve.
Among their festive traditions is the exchanging of gifts on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day – which is typical of a traditional German Christmas and was reportedly introduced by Prince Albert says the Independent.
The official Royal website states: “On Christmas Eve, the royal family lay out their presents on trestle tables and will exchange their gifts at teatime.”
Before heading to bed, the guests enjoy a black-tie banquet with six courses of food and a festive Yule Log to finish for Her Majesty who shares the nation’s love for chocolate.
On Christmas morning, the Queen is driven for a private communion St Mary Magdalene Church where her great great grandmother, Queen Victoria visited.
She is joined again by her guests and team at 11am before they all sit down for another festive feast with a traditional seafood starter followed by roast turkey with all the trimmings and then Christmas pudding with brandy butter to finish.
Of course before the day is up, the nation sits down and tunes in to watch the Queen deliver her annual speech which has been broadcast to 52 states across the commonwealth for the last 88 years
In years gone by the speech would be delivered live, but today it is pre-recorded in the weeks before Christmas ready to be televised at precisely 3pm.
Her Majesty’s dresser, Angela Kelly, has previously revealed that the monarch makes a number of dress changes throughout the festive day to suit the various engagements she undertakes.
Far from a rest day, the Queen can be just as busy on a normal Christmas Day in Sandringham as she would be in London or Windsor Castle.