The Queen joined the rest of the royals for the Christmas Day church service at Sandringham yesterday after recovering from a cold.
She missed Sunday’s service at her Norfolk home as she was “getting over the tail end of a cold”, Buckingham Palace said.
But yesterday she appeared cheerful as she arrived for the 11am service at St Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham estate.
Wearing a turquoise coat dress and matching hat, she was wished a merry Christmas by about 1,000 wellwishers.
Following tradition, the Queen made the short journey from Sandringham House in a Bentley with princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.
The Duke of Edinburgh, 91, who missed last year’s service with a heart problem, walked the few hundred yards from the house to the church with the Duke of York and the Earl and the Countess of Wessex.
The Queen traditionally spends the festive period with her family at her Norfolk estate. But this year there were some empty spaces around the table on Christmas Day. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are spending Christmas at the Middleton family home and Prince Harry is serving as an Apache pilot in Afghanistan.
As the family left the church, the Queen – wearing a dress by Peter Enrione and matching hat by Rachel Trevor-Morgan – collected flowers and gifts, including a teddy bear, from a line of about 50 children.
Phoenix Stanford, eight, and sister Evangeline, five, from RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk, wore Santa hats as they met the Queen.
Phoenix said: “The Queen said they were lovely flowers. She didn’t mention our hats.”
As the Queen was driven away, the crowd gave her three cheers.
She was also handed a bag of treats for her corgis.