AceShowbiz - Queen Elizabeth II has made changes to royal family Christmas plans amid COVID-19 surge in the U.K. Unlike the previous holiday seasons, the 95-year-old monarch announced on Monday, December 20 that she would skip spending Christmas in Sandringham.
The Queen usually stays at her estate in Norfolk from late December to just after February 6, the date she became queen at the death of her father George VI nearly 70 years ago. However, as the Omicron coronavirus variant cases is rocketing in the country, the monarch has decided to stay at Windsor Castle.
A royal source claims to PEOPLE that it was a personal decision taken after "careful consideration" and reflects an ongoing "precautionary approach." The source goes on to say that the Queen will still be visited by various members of the family over the Christmas holiday.
With the alteration, it means that the Queen's annual family walk to at St. Mary's Magdalene Church on Christmas morning will not happen this year.
Normally, members of the royal family join the Queen at Sandringham. She would also welcome guests in the early afternoon on Christmas Eve. After opening their presents on Christmas Eve, the royal family famously walks to church services at St. Mary's Magdalene Church on the estate. They later return to Sandringham House for a lunch of Norfolk turkey and other festivities.
This year will be a quiet poignant holiday for the Queen. This will mark Her Royal Majesty's first Christmas without her late husband, Prince Philip, who died in April.
The new decision arrives just one week after the royal canceled her pre-Christmas lunch for the fifty extended family members. While there is "regret" that the lunch has been canceled, the royal allegedly belief it is "the right thing to do" for all concerned. It was slated to take place on Tuesday at Windsor Castle.
The cancellation was in the wake of the spread of Omricon variant this year. Officials in Britain say the country is facing a "tidal wave" of infections from Omicron and the strain has become dominant in London, outcompeting the previous Delta variant.