Princess Anne's Husband Positive for COVID Ahead of Queen Elizabeth's First Christmas Without Prince Philip

Princess Anne and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence are isolating in Gloucestershire, which will force them to miss a Christmas Day visit with the Queen

Princess Anne, Princess Royal
Princess Anne and Sir Timothy Laurence (right). Photo: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images

Princess Anne will not be able to spend Christmas Day with her mother, Queen Elizabeth, just eight months after her father Prince Philip's death.

PEOPLE has confirmed that Anne's husband, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, has tested positive for COVID. In line with government guidance, the couple is isolating at their home in Gloucestershire for 10 days.

The news comes just days after the Queen, 95, decided not to travel to her Sandringham estate for a big, traditional royal family Christmas. Yesterday was also supposed to be the extended royal family's annual Christmas luncheon, but the Queen canceled the event last week out of an abundance of caution amid the surge in U.K. COVID cases caused by the Omicron variant.

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A royal source said on Monday that the Queen's decision to stay at Windsor Castle for a second year in a row was a personal one taken after "careful consideration" and reflects an ongoing "precautionary approach."

The source added that she will be visited by various members of the family over the Christmas holiday. And though it has not yet been confirmed whether the monarch will see Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William and Kate Middleton — whose homes are farther away, requiring more travel during the busy holiday season — her two youngest sons, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, and their families are located in the Windsor area and are expected to pay their mother a holiday visit.

queen elizabeth, princess Anne
Queen Elizabeth and Princess Anne in Scotland last week. ANDREW MILLIGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

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The news about Princess Anne, 71, and her husband, 66, also comes as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, both 39, sent a letter to frontline workers thanking them for their continued service and care during the pandemic.

"The dedication and commitment of all NHS staff has been awe-inspiring," wrote the couple, who are the Patrons of the NHS Charities. They added, "Your unending compassion has meant so much in the darkest moments."

Kate Middleton and the Middleton family. Heathcliff O'Malley - WPA Pool/Getty

As Christmas Day nears, William and Kate are also anticipating the airing of her Royal Carols: Together at Christmas special, which was filmed on December 8 and airs Friday evening in the U.K.

During the service, the Duchess of Cambridge praised those who had gone above and beyond to help others and their communities amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In the program for the concert, she wrote: "Through our separation from others, we have been reminded just how powerful human connection is to us all. Just how much we need one another. And how loving and feeling a sense of belonging to one another can provide comfort in tough times. The importance of simply being together."

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