The Queen will travel to Sandringham tomorrow and will stay at her late husband’s former home, Wood Farm, where he lived following his retirement in 2017. She will celebrate her 96th birthday
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The Queen will celebrate her 96th birthday on Thursday by making an emotional return to Sandringham to be close to her beloved late husband Prince Philip.
Her Majesty will travel tomorrow morning from her Windsor Castle home to the royal family’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk.
The monarch will stay at her late husband’s former home, Wood Farm, where he lived following his retirement in 2017, while being visited by friends who live close by, it is understood.
The Queen is expected to be joined by members of the royal family over the weekend to celebrate.
Royal sources said the Queen’s “mini-break” was a “positive step” that she is prepared to make the journey given her ongoing mobility issues.
Her Majesty has been forced to cancel or miss several high-profile engagements over recent months due to her ailing health.
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Palace sources have said the monarch should “not be expected” at any future public events ahead of time and will instead “make a decision on the day” as to whether she can attend.
A royal source said: “The Queen decided very recently that on her birthday she wanted to be as close as possible to her late husband and in an environment that was very close to both of their hearts.
“Sandringham holds so many special memories for the Queen and Prince Philip as well as the rest of the royal family.
“It’s certainly a positive step that Her Majesty is feeling well enough and rested to enjoy her upcoming mini-break which she thoroughly deserves to celebrate her birthday.”
The Duke of Edinburgh retired to Wood Farm after he retired from royal life in 2017.
He transformed the Sandringham estate into an organic farm and took great pride in managing the grounds until it was taken over by Prince Charles.
Together the Queen and Philip, who died at Windsor Castle aged 99 last April, the royal couple spent most of the coronavirus pandemic at their Berkshire residence, in order to create a bubble system known as HMS Bubble, to keep them both safe in the same household.
It is not known at this stage whether members of the royal family, including Prince of Wales, who has been spending the Easter holidays with wife Camilla at their Scottish residence Birkhall as well as Prince William and his family, will join the Queen for a private celebrate this weekend.
However, several members of the royal family have been regular guests at Windsor as the Queen’s mobility issues have left her at certain times struggling to get about.
One palace insider described Her Majesty as “having good days and less good days”.
The Queen regretfully was forced last week to miss two major events in her calendar, the Royal Maundy Thursday service and the Easter Sunday church service both at St George’s chapel within the grounds of her Windsor home, due to her ability to attend the events in comfort .
It was the first time in more than 50 years that she has missed either event, and the first ever through illness.
The sovereign was last seen in public on March 29 at a memorial service for the Duke of Edinburgh, where she summoned all her strength to make the solemn occasion in tribute to her husband of 73 years.
Before that Her Majesty held a reception with members of the local community in the ballroom of Sandringham House in Norfolk on February 5, marking her accession day and Platinum Jubilee celebrating 70 years on the throne.
Her Majesty was said by several attendees to be in “sparkling form” on the day, where she made guests burst with laughter by playfully cutting a cake by stabbing it with a large knife and leaving it poking out the top.
During the event, her Majesty was presented with a locally-baked cake and a large knife and asked to cut the first slice.
Plunging the blade in, she made guests laugh when she joked: “I think I might just put the knife in it.”
Her Majesty then quipped: “Someone else can do the rest.”
The Queen has normally welcomes her extended family to Sandringham over the Christmas period, but decided to stay at Windsor Castle last year due to spiraling Covid infection rates across the country at the time.
Instead she decided to wait for a few weeks as a precaution and respect to those suffering from the virus, traveling to Sandringham by helicopter on January 23.
The Queen returned to Windsor Castle on February 7, having spent several weeks there relaxing and seeing family and friends.
There have been mounting concerns for the Queen’s health since the autumn last year after she pulled out of a number of engagements and spent a night in hospital for an unexplained medical condition.
Her Majesty was ordered to rest by doctors and cut back on a relentless schedule which had seen her take on 19n engagements in as many days during the period.
The Queen also sprained her back, leading to her missing the Remembrance Sunday service, normally a stalwart of her annual calendar.
A royal source said: “All the staff at Sandringham can’t wait to welcome Her Majesty and wish her a happy birthday.”