Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip left Buckingham Palace to head to Sandringham, where they will celebrate the holidays

By Simon Perry
December 21, 2017 02:12 PM

It’s time for the royal Christmas break!

With no delay this year, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip headed to their winter retreat on Thursday morning.

The monarch, dressed in a bright purple coat and matching colorful scarf, and Philip were seen leaving Buckingham Palace just after 10 a.m to travel to Sandringham House in Norfolk, 110 miles north of London. The couple then took the scheduled train (first class carriage, of course) from King’s Cross in London to King’s Lynn, Norfolk.

Last year, the Queen, 91, and Philip, 96, were suffering from heavy colds, which meant that they had to put off their trip to their countryside haven.

The following day, instead of using a car, they took a helicopter for the journey.

The health scare continued as doctors advised the Queen to rest for most of the holiday. She didn’t go out on Christmas Day for the festive services at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene and she wasn’t seen in public until early January. Then, she headed to church with Prince William and Kate Middleton – and helped them celebrate Kate’s 35th birthday, by entertaining the couple and their friends at a dinner at Sandringham House.

Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock
Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock

This year, she and the family has much to celebrate. Last month, she and Philip marked the astonishing milestone of their 70th wedding anniversary and Prince Harry announced his engagement to Meghan Markle in late November. The couple will join the Queen for Christmas. And William and Kate are expecting their third child in April, about a month before Harry and Meghan’s wedding on May 19. One of the first acts of the new year for the family will be to make sure that little Princess Charlotte is settled into her new pre-school, close to Kensington Palace, in London.