Making changes to stay safe. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip will spend Christmas at Windsor Castle instead of the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, in order to stay safe amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“Having considered all the appropriate advice, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have decided that this year they will spend Christmas quietly in Windsor,” a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said on Tuesday, December 1.
The monarch, 94, and her husband, 99, have been isolating at Windsor Castle since the shutdown. (England is on lockdown, set to end on Wednesday, December 2.) The pair has traditionally celebrated Sandringham with the rest of the royal family, where they’ve taken part in many traditions including the annual walk to church on Christmas morning. The family has also canceled its usual holiday party at Buckingham Palace.
The queen is still set to make her annual address, in which she’s expected to reflect on the difficult year. The speech, recorded earlier in the week, is usually broadcast at 3 p.m. on Christmas Day.
The rest of the royal family has yet to announce their plans for the holiday season. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will host their first Christmas in Montecito, California, with the former actress’ mom, Doria Ragland.
Harry’s brother, Prince William, and wife Duchess Kate have alternated between celebrating with the Queen and Prince Philip and with Kate’s family. While they’ve yet to reveal their plans, their three children “can’t wait for Christmas,” a source told Us Weekly exclusively earlier this month.
“It’s their favorite time of the year,” the insider said of Prince George, 7, Princess Charlotte, 5, and Prince Louis, 2. “In fact, they’ve already written their list for Santa and are nagging William and Kate to put up the Christmas tree!”
Kate’s mother, Carole Middleton, shared that the family is already planning to celebrate virtually together.
“We may not be able to get together but after a year like 2020, we need to remember what’s really important this Christmas,” the businesswoman, 65, captioned an Instagram post on November 11. “For me, what really matters is that my family feels connected. I normally let my grandchildren help me decorate the tree. This year, I’ll ask them by video call to decide which decoration should go where. … It may need to be tastefully rearranged later!”
The Party Pieces founder previously revealed that she has multiple trees at her Bucklebury, England, home so that each of her grandkids can decorate their own.