Queen won’t spend Christmas alone as senior royals agree to cut socialising in run-up


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Prince Charles and Camilla, Prince William and Kate, Princess Anne, Prince Edward and his wife Sophie have cancelled their pre-Christmas plans to ensure they can be with the Queen

Queen Elizabeth II receives the Sultan of Oman and his wife, the first lady of Oman, during an audience at Windsor Castle. Picture date: Wednesday December 15, 2021.
The Queen will not be alone at Christmas

The Queen will not spend ­Christmas alone after senior ­royals agreed to reduce all but es­sential contacts beforehand, amid a surge in Covid infections.

Prince Charles and Camilla, Prince William and Kate, Princess Anne, Prince Edward and his wife Sophie have cancelled any pre-Christmas plans to ensure they can be with her.

The monarch was today forced to abandon a party for her extended family due to the pandemic.

Her Majesty was planning to welcome around 50 relatives to Windsor Castle on Tuesday, but took the decision to abort the do.

It comes as the rest of the country was warned further restrictions may be needed if vaccines are less effective than expected against Omicron, England’s chief medical officer said.

Charles has cleared his diary of public engagements
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Her Majesty had to cancel a planned party
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Prof Chris Whitty warned that new data expected after Christmas could lead to a “material change” in the Government’s approach.

“If it looked as if the vaccines were less effective than we were expecting,” he said. Boris Johnson faced anger from Tory MPs and business chiefs about Prof Whitty’s warning to reduce socialising in the run-up to Christmas.

The PM rejected claims he was imposing a “lockdown by stealth” but urged people to be “cautious” about their activities over the festive season.

Fans were in good voice at the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace today
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Revellers across the country were determined to get into the festive spirit. Fans dressed up at the William Hill World Darts Championship at ­Alexandra Palace in North London, while party-goers in Newcastle hit the city streets.

Prof Whitty warned the variant could rise “incredibly fast” but its peak could fall quickly due to boosters.

There was also a record for top-up jabs with almost 750,000 third or booster doses given today.

Revellers enjoy a festive night out in Newcastle on Wednesday
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The Queen is due to travel by helicopter to Sandringham in Norfolk, on Wednesday where she is set to spend the Christmas period.

The Mirror exclusively revealed last month how after being cleared by doctors following an overnight stay in hospital, the Queen travelled to Norfolk so she could prepare to host her family during the holiday.

She usually stays at Sandringham until February 6 on the anniversary of her father’s death.

Anmer Hall on the Sandringham Estate in King’s Lynn
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Royal sources tonight said that while there remains “obvious ­uncertainty as to how Christmas will look exactly” the royals were committed to doing all they can to be by the Queen’s side.

One alternative being examined is for the royal family to spend Christmas at her Windsor Castle home, where she has spent most of the pandemic.

A secure Covid bubble is in place with dozens of staff who have spent the crisis safeguarding the Queen, and the Duke of ­Edinburgh before his death at the age of 99 in April.

Booster drive in full swing today
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Family members invited will be expected to take Covid tests on the days before, and on Christmas Day.

A royal source said: “In terms of plans for Christmas, everything is up in the air. Senior members of the family have spoken with each other and cut back on all but ­essential contacts in public so they are ready to travel to be with the Queen wherever Christmas can take place.

“As she has acted throughout the pandemic, the Queen will do what she feels is right in the current circumstances which are ever changing.”

Covid-19 case rates in UK nations
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Another insider said it is “pretty unlikely” royal watchers will be invited to gather at Sandringham or Windsor on Christmas Day, due to the increased public health risk.

But the family could gather even with a reduced guest list.

The Cambridges will stay at their Anmer Hall home in Norfolk before Christmas Day, while Charles and Camilla have cleared their diary of public engagements.

They will instead privately thank staff next week before they break for the holidays.

The royals will be with the monarch at Christmas
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In her Christmas broadcast to the nation, which was recorded this week, the Queen is expected to herald the indomitable spirit of the British people while heaping praise on our frontline health workers.

As the pandemic started in 2020, the Queen made only her fifth national broadcast outside of Christmas to evoke wartime memories and reassure those “feeling a painful sense of separation from their loved ones” to take comfort in the fact: “We will meet again.”

A source said: “The Queen believes we’re very much all in this together and we should all abide by the public health guidelines to keep each other safe.”

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Despite the Queen’s festive party being within government guidelines, it was Her Majesty’s view that it would have been “against the spirit of the current situation”.

A senior palace source said today: “The pre-Christmas family lunch will not be going ahead.

“The decision is a precautionary one as it is felt to put too many people’s Christmas ­arrangements at risk. While there is regret, there is a belief it is the right thing to do for all concerned.”

This will be the first year since the death of her beloved husband of 73 years, Philip. The Queen was forced to spend last Christmas alone with the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle.

Most years, the Queen invites her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, along with wider family, to join her at Buckingham Palace before she departs for her Christmas stay at Sandringham.

A source said: “As she has done throughout her reign of nearly 70 years, the Queen will lead from the front on this issue.

“It is clear many people will be sadly cut off from their families due to the rapid rise in infections and Her Majesty is very conscious of that.”

The Queen has been carrying out light duties since October 20, and is said to be “feeling refreshed”.

Buckingham Palace tonight did not comment.

There were a record number of daily Covid cases for the second day running with more than 88,000 confirmed across the UK.

the Scottish and Welsh governments are considering putting tougher restrictions in place to limit the spread of Omicron.

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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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