The Private Way Queen Elizabeth Is Honoring Prince Philip During Her Stay at Sandringham

Prince Philip, who died in April at age 99, spent much of his time at Sandringham's five-bedroom Wood Farm home

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh pictured 1/6/2020 in the quadrangle of Windsor Castle ahead of his 99th birthday on Wednesday.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty

During Queen Elizabeth's return to Sandringham, she'll be staying in a place full of reminders of her late husband Prince Philip.

The monarch, 95, traveled from Windsor Castle to her Sandringham estate in Norfolk, about 110 miles north of London, by helicopter on Sunday. She is believed to be staying at Wood Farm rather than the main house.

Prince Philip, who died in April at age 99, spent much of his time at the cozier five-bedroom Wood Farm home, which was modified in recent years to make it easier for him to get around, after he retired from public life in August 2017. While the Queen remained largely at Buckingham Palace in London continuing her royal duties, her husband enjoyed life in the country with activities like carriage driving and painting.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, Prince Philip and the Queen spent much of their time together at Windsor Castle before his death.

Originally purchased by Queen Victoria and her husband, Albert, in 1862, Sandringham "has a fantastic outlook from the front across the amazing landscaped gardens," says former bodyguard Ken Wharfe in the winter issue of PEOPLE Royals.

Tributes To Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh
Wood Farm entrance. Stephen Pond/Getty

"She doesn't have to be monarch there," added a former staffer. "She can be Elizabeth rather than the Queen."

The Queen typically stays at her estate in Norfolk starting in late December, when the royal family comes together to celebrate Christmas. However, the Queen decided to spend the holiday at Windsor Castle accompanied by Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall amid the rise in COVID-19 cases in the U.K.

The royal residence is also a bittersweet place. Queen Elizabeth traditionally stays at Sandringham until after Feb. 6, the anniversary of the day her father King George VI died and she became monarch.

Queen Elizabeth II on the 30th anniversary of her reign, with the Duke of Edinburgh on their estate at Sandringham, Norfolk
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip at Sandringham. Dennis Oulds/Central Press/Getty

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Known as Accession Day, the Queen normally spends it in quiet, somber reflection at Sandringham, as it marks the death of her beloved father as much as the day that her life changed forever. Around the time, she often takes part in a low-key engagement close to her estate in Norfolk.

This February marks the 70th anniversary of her accession, which will be celebrated with Platinum Jubilee celebrations through June.

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