Queen misses Christmas Day church service at Sandringham

Queen Elizabeth II arriving to attend the morning Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham estate in 2012. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Queen Elizabeth II arriving to attend the morning Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham estate in 2012. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

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The Queen missed the annual Christmas Day church service at Sandringham with her family as she is still recovering from a heavy cold, Buckingham Palace has said.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh had delayed their trip to the private Sandringham estate by a day after they both became ill.

But they were well enough to travel from Buckingham Palace by helicopter to the Queen’s home near King’s Lynn in Norfolk on Thursday.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “Her Majesty the Queen will not attend church at Sandringham this morning.

“The Queen continues to recover from a heavy cold and will stay indoors to assist with her recovery. Her Majesty will participate in the royal family Christmas celebrations during the day.”

Meanwhile the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took their children to church for the Christmas Day service.

William held Prince George’s hand, while Kate carried Princess Charlotte, as they made their way into St Mark’s Church in Englefield, Berkshire.

They were joined by the Middleton family - Kate’s mother Carole, father Michael, sister Pippa and bother James - for the service, and Miss Middleton’s fiance, financier James Matthews, was also present.

The Cambridges are spending Christmas with Kate’s family at the Middleton home near Bucklebury instead of joining other members of the royal family at the Queen’s Sandringham estate, in Norfolk.

It will be the second time the couple will have joined the Middletons for Christmas Day since they married in 2011 and the first since their children were born.

The last time the couple stayed away from the traditional royal gathering was in December 2012, shortly after Kate was discharged from hospital having been treated for severe morning sickness when she was pregnant with George.

In 2014, William and Kate were believed to have lunched with the Middletons before attending the Christmas Day church service with the royals.

The £4.7 million Middleton mansion has always been a haven for William and Kate, and they spent a number of weeks there within days of George, now three, being born.

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