Sandringham hosts the Royal Family once a year for their Christmas break, as the Queen uses the residence as her winter refuge, and Prince Philip lives there year-round. While there, they exchange gifts, enjoy family games and attend church. The visit gives people a chance to see the whole family together in public, but Norfolk locals may end up disappointed this year.
Will the Royal Family meet at Sandringham this year?
Although in America right now, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have a court appearance scheduled for early January.
The Duchess will give evidence in her libel case against the Daily Mail, fuelling rumours the couple may drop by Sandringham first.
But COVID-19 has complicated things, meaning the Queen has had to make a heartbreaking call.
The Queen has allegedly ruled out attending church this year, according to Daily Express royal correspondent Richard Palmer.
He suggested barring “dramatic change” the Queen has “abandoned” her annual church visit.
A source told Mr Palmer the family would “simply follow government guidance.”
As such, the reason behind their decision to miss the church visit may relate to the Government’s current Rule of Six.
People cannot gather in groups of more than six in public, putting a spanner in the works for most Brits’ holiday plans this year.
Sandringham staff still assume the Royal Family will gather otherwise, as Mr Palmer added aides continue to prepare the palace.
Royal sources added the Queen wants to continue her tradition, and Boris Johnson has said he wants to remove the rule temporarily for Christmas.
Although she has remained holed up in Windsor this year due to the pandemic, the Queen still managed to enjoy a holiday at Balmoral.
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She arrived at the property later on in the summer, which had prepared for COVID-19.
Experts, therefore, seem convinced she will do the same for Christmas, guidance permitting.
Some disagree, however, stating family members will instead choose to stay at their own properties.
Joe Little, the managing editor at Majesty Magazine, is among them.
He suggested the Queen would still stay at Sandringham, but with the Duke of Edinburgh only, mirroring their summer plans.
Mr Little said: “I think everybody is just going to end up in their own homes.
“If it is just the Queen and the Duke and they are rattling around in the big house, then it’s Balmoral part two, because they can’t entertain and what’s the point?”
Most senior members of the family have other families, with all of the Queen’s eldest grandchildren now married.