The royal family — who were joined by Kate’s mother Carole Middleton, brother James Middleton and sister Pippa Middleton — were spotted smiling and chatting with locals as they arrived at St. Mary Magdalene church on the Queen’s Sandringham estate. The 90-year-old monarch has been suffering from a heavy cold that had caused her to miss her annual Christmas Day and New Year’s church services. But it appears that on Sunday she rallied for her first public appearance in nearly one month and her first outing since confirming that she was under the weather.
A simple statement from Buckingham Palace was released Sunday morning confirming her attendance.
While ill, the Queen has been staying indoors, working on her government papers and honoring a trusted long-standing servant with a special award. Last week, in a bid to reassure fans, her daughter Princess Anne said at the New Year’s Day service that the Queen was getting “better.”
The Queen had not been seen in public since Dec. 9 when she hosted the ambassador of Liberia for a private audience at Buckingham Palace. She also made an appearance across the realm during her pre-recorded Christmas broadcast and hosted a private pre-Christmas party for her family and diplomats at Buckingham Palace. The Sunday trip also marked her first outing since she was the victim of a Twitter death hoax in late December.
Elizabeth wasn’t the only royal who missed out on the Sandringham Christmas walk — William, Kate and their two children Prince George and Princess Charlotte chose to spend their holidays with Kate’s parents. (George and Charlotte did not attend the church service on Sunday, however.)
The Queen’s granddaughter Zara Tindall and her family also skipped out on the holiday services in December after she revealed on Christmas Eve that she had suffered a miscarriage. Zara and her husband Mike Tindall were expecting their second child. The couple also made their first appearance since their tragic news on Sunday when they attended a polo match in Australia on Sunday.
The trek to Sandringham on Sunday wasn’t a long journey for Will and Kate — their home Anmer Hall is two miles away from the church and sits on the Queen’s estate. It’s a time of celebration for the royal family after a tough holiday season as Kate will celebrate her 35th birthday on Monday.