Queen Elizabeth Expected to Have Royal Family Christmas at Sandringham After Last Year's Was Canceled 

The Queen is also expected to host members of the royal family for her traditional pre-Christmas lunch at Windsor Castle

queen elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth's 2020 Christmas speech. Photo: Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty

After a difficult year, Queen Elizabeth is set to have her family by her side for the holidays.

The monarch, 95, will travel to Sandringham Estate in Norfolk for Christmas with other members of the royal family unless U.K. government mandates amid the ongoing COVID pandemic change between now and the holidays.

Last year, the festivities didn't take place due COVID precautions and protocols in place. The Queen rang in the holiday with her husband Prince Philip at Windsor Castle, where they quarantined during most of 2020.

The Duke of Edinburgh died last April at the age of 99, which makes this her first Christmas in decades without her beloved husband by her side.

The Queen is also expected to host members of the royal family for her traditional pre-Christmas lunch, which was also canceled last year. The luncheon, which occurs before the Queen sets off for Sandringham, typically takes place at Buckingham Palace, but this year's event will likely be held at Windsor Castle, where the Queen has been living.

There has also been speculation that the Queen could take on a small public engagement on the grounds of the castle ahead of Christmas.

The royal family on Christmas Day in 2017
Chris Jackson/Getty

Each year, members of the royal family join Queen Elizabeth at her Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, England, for Christmas. Guests usually arrive in the early afternoon on Christmas Eve. (The family opens their presents on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day.) On Christmas, the family famously walks to church services at St. Mary's Magdalene Church on her estate. After their church outing, the royal family heads back to Sandringham House for a lunch of Norfolk turkey and other festivities.

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This year's royal family gathering at Sandringham is the latest sign that the Queen is on the mend following her October 20th hospitalization. After being told to rest by doctors, she canceled several engagements, including a last-minute decision to not appear at the Remembrance Day event due to a sprained back in November.

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