The Queen and Prince Phillip are spending "Christmas quietly in Windsor," a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said

By Erin Hill
December 25, 2020 09:00 AM
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Queen Elizabeth on Christmas Day in 2018

Queen Elizabeth is breaking with tradition this year as she rings in Christmas at Windsor Castle instead of at Sandringham House in Norfolk.

After careful consideration, the monarch, 94, and her husband, Prince Philip, 99, made the decision to celebrate the holiday season at Windsor Castle, where they have spent much of the year isolating amid the pandemic.

“Having considered all the appropriate advice, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have decided that this year they will spend Christmas quietly in Windsor,” a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said earlier this month.

Although the royal family has been celebrating Christmas at the Queen's Sandringham estate in Norfolk, about 100 miles north of London, for over three decades, it wasn't unusual for holiday festivities to take place at Windsor Castle in the 1980s. The last time the family gathered at Windsor Castle for Christmas was in 1987.

Queen Elizabeth on a December video call
| Credit: Royal Communications

A royal source previously told PEOPLE, "They are fortunate to spend Christmas with their family every year, but they understand that their family will have competing demands over the Christmas period and are content to have a quiet festive season this year."

"Like everyone, their hope is that normality will return in 2021," the source adds.

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The Queen will reflect on the hardships of the past year in her annual Christmas speech on Friday.

Queen Elizabeth joins the royal family at Windsor Castle on Dec. 8
| Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall are celebrating at Highgrove, their estate in Gloucestershire, while Prince William, Kate Middleton and their three kids — Prince George, 7, Princess Charlotte, 5, and Prince Louis, 2 — are at their country home of Anmer Hall in Norfolk

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are celebrating their first American Christmas with their son Archie at their new home in Montecito, California.