Queen to consult family with Windsor Castle pre-Christmas party ‘hanging in balance’


Royal sources say the Queen’s planned Windsor Castle traditional pre-Christmas family get together is ‘unlikely’ to go ahead in full form, if at all, in the face of the rising Covid cases Queen to consult family with Windsor pre-Christmas party ‘hanging in balance’

Queen Elizabeth II receives the Sultan of Oman during an audience at Windsor Castle. Picture date: Wednesday December 15, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story ROYAL Queen. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
The Queen received the Sultan of Oman during an audience at Windsor Castle today

The Queen will consult her family over numbers for a planned Windsor Castle party before making a decision on whether to go ahead, it is understood.

The monarch is still to make a final decision on whether to hold her traditional pre-Christmas family get together next Tuesday.

Plans are fully in place for the festive lunch the monarch hosts each year for her extended family, and preparations are underway.

However, royal sources said it was “unlikely” to go ahead in full form, if at all, in the face of the rising Covid cases and the surge in the Omicron variant.

The Queen chatted to the Sultan
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Her Majesty, who is still planning to host Christmas for her immediate family at Sandringham in Norfolk, is understood to be considering whether holding the party with a reduced guest list would work.

Both gatherings last year were unable to take place because of the Covid-19 crisis.

Most years, the Queen invites her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to join her at Buckingham Palace before she departs for her annual Christmas stay at Sandringham The pre-Christmas celebration gives the head of state a chance to catch up with relatives who are unable to travel to Norfolk for Christmas Day.

Haitham bin Tariq al Said and his wife The Honourable Lady Sayyida Ahad Bint Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Busaidiyah, pose with the Queen
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The wider family is also usually invited, including the Queen’s cousins – the Gloucesters, the Duke of Kent and the Michaels of Kent.

A royal source said: “The Queen has been very much looking forward to both the party and welcoming her family for Christmas at Sandringham.

“The Windsor party is very much in the balance and everything is focussed on being able to enjoy Christmas in the safest way possible.

“The Queen is very mindful of the rapid rates of coronavirus in the community and will take the appropriate measures.”

The Queen poses for a photograph in Windsor Castle after recording her annual Christmas Day message in 2019
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Any of the guests at the Christmas party or Sandringham holidays will be asked to take lateral flow tests before coming, it is understood.

Members of the royal family take regular covid tests in line with their work.

Senior royals have agreed to rally round the monarch in the lead up to the festive period, as it will be her first Christmas since the death of her beloved husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

The 95-year-old monarch The Queen is still carrying out only light duties, including virtual and the occasional in-person audiences, after being ordered to rest by royal doctors and spending a night in hospital undergoing tests on October 20.

She on Wednesday welcomed in person to Windsor Castle the Sultan of Oman, Haitham bin Tariq al Said and his wife The Honourable Lady Sayyida Ahad Bint Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Busaidiyah.

The monarch, wearing a pale blue dress, her trademark pearls and a sapphire brooch, was pictured smiling and shaking hands with the Sultan at her Berkshire castle.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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