Is Queen Elizabeth Scrapping Her Sandringham Christmas Trip Altogether?

After a year that included losing her beloved husband and battling her own health issues, Queen Elizabeth was looking forward to spending Christmas with her family at her Sandringham estate. "The Queen is totally committed to hosting everyone as she hopes to make it back to full health in the coming weeks," a source told The Sun. "After being forced to cancel a host of engagements, the family get-together will be the perfect tonic."

Before the pandemic, the royal family spent every Christmas and New Years at the Queen's home in Norfolk, which of course boasts a big Christmas tree. "The Queen is not lavish, so the décor is minimal," the Queen's former chef Darren McGrady told Good Housekeeping in 2016 (per US Weekly). There is a formal dinner every Christmas Eve, with gifts exchanged that same night at 6 p.m. in Sandringham's red drawing room (per Marie Claire). But forget about luxury items. Instead, the royals give one another gag gifts: Prince Harry reportedly gave the Queen a bath hat inscribed with "Ain't Life A B****," while Kate Middleton presented Harry with a "Grow Your Own Girlfriend Kit" during his single days. 

But while Harry and his family aren't joining the royals for the holidays, Prince William, Kate, and their three children were expected to be at Sandringham. But with the rise in Covid-19 cases in the UK, the Queen might not be traveling to Sandringham at all this year.

The Queen has had to change her Christmas plans due to Covid

The Omicron variant is sending Covid-19 cases in the UK skyrocketing, and that means Queen Elizabeth has had to change her Christmas plans. She already canceled her pre-Christmas lunch for extended family members that was to be held at Windsor Castle. "The decision is a precautionary one as it is felt to put too many people's Christmas arrangements at risk if it went ahead," a palace source told Express. "While there is regret that it is canceled, there is a belief it is the right thing to do for all concerned."

And now the Queen has decided not to make the trip to her Sandringham estate in Norfolk. "Her Majesty has decided to celebrate Christmas at Windsor and will not travel to Sandringham. The decision was a personal one after careful consideration and reflects a precautionary approach," Rebecca English, a royal editor at the Daily Mail, posted on Twitter

While she usually stays there from late December to the beginning of February, Elizabeth will remain at Windsor Castle for the second year in a row (per People). Royal family members will still visit her during the holidays, following all of the necessary Covid-19 guidelines. In addition, English noted "it looks as if the Queen will worship privately on Christmas Day inside the castle — a real shame for royal watchers, but almost inevitable under the circumstances."