Buckingham Palace denies Queen will not attend church on Christmas day

Buckingham Palace denies reports Queen and the Royal Family will not attend church at Sandringham on Christmas day insisting ‘it’s too early to make decision’

  • The Queen and the rest of the royal family usually attend the Christmas Day service in Sandringham and celebrate the holiday together at her Norfolk Estate 
  • Amid pandemic, royal experts have suggested Her Majesty will forego tradition
  • Buckingham Palace spokesperson told FEMAIL: ‘it’s all undecided at the moment’ 

Buckingham Palace has denied reports the Queen will not be attending church on Christmas Day, adding a decision about where the royal family will spend the festive period has not yet been made.

The Queen and the rest of the royal family usually attend the Christmas Day service in Sandringham and celebrate the holiday together at her Norfolk Estate.  

But amid the coronavirus pandemic, royal experts have suggested Her Majesty will forego the tradition this year because of Covid-19 restrictions.

However, a spokesperson from Buckingham Palace told FEMAIL: ‘It’s too early to be making decisions about Christmas, and it’s all undecided at the moment’. 

It comes as The Express reported the royal family would miss out on the festivities this year, and stay in their own separate residences for December 25.

Buckingham Palace has denied reports the Queen will not be attending church on Christmas Day, revealing a decision about where the royal family will spend the festive period has not yet been made. She is pictured at church in 2017

The Queen and the rest of the royal family usually attend the Christmas Day service in Sandringham and celebrate the holiday together at her Norfolk Estate. But amid the coronavirus pandemic, royal experts have suggested Her Majesty would forego the tradition this year to stay in line with restrictions. Pictured: Prince Charles, Kate Middleton, Prince William, Princess Charlotte and Prince George attend church last year

Usually the royal family attend two church services, a private worship and a later public one, where they greets well-wishers.  

In previous years, members of the public have gathered outside St Mary Magdalene Church to see the Queen, who is usually joined by Prince Charles, The Duchess of Cornwall, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and other members of her family. 

It’s created some famous photos, including shots of the ‘Fab Four’ which saw Prince William and Harry walking alongside the Duchesses of Sussex and Cambridge.

The Queen, 94, is currently staying in Windsor Castle in Berkshire, while her husband Prince Philip, 99, is staying at his residence on the Sandringham Estate, where he’s stayed since retiring in 2017. 

If the celebration does not go ahead, it will only be the third time in the monarch’s 68 year reign she has missed attending church on Christmas day with her family.

In 1953, her second Christmas as monarch, Elizabeth was in New Zealand as part of a Commonwealth tour, while in 2016 she missed it due to a bad cold. 

The Queen and the rest of the royal family usually attend the Christmas Day service in Sandringham and celebrate the holiday together at her Norfolk Estate. But amid the coronavirus pandemic, royal experts have suggested Her Majesty would forego the tradition this year to stay in line with restrictions. Pictured, from left, Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince William, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Prince Andrew at church on Christmas day 2017

The royals usually  stay within the Sandringham estate (pictured), different guests stay in various lodges and home within the grounds which span 20,000 acres

But both years saw some members of the Windsor family attend and meet fans after their worship. 

Her Majesty has celebrated Christmas at Sandringham since 1988, and often has many members of the royal family stay on the estate during the festive period.

Before 1988, she spent the day at Windsor Castle and attended the church service at St George’s Chapel.

Under the rule of six,  the royals usual celebrations will not be able to go ahead, but Boris Johnson has not revealed if regulations will be loosened on Christmas Day. 

Arrangements for a royal Christmas are further complicated by the so-called ‘HMS Bubble’, the name coined for protective measures thrown around the Queen and Prince Philip to protect them from the virus. It means members of their family cannot stay with them unless they first self-isolate.

Courtiers are understood to be reluctant to encourage crowds, where infections become more likely, so could torpedo plans for the traditional walk to St Mary Magdalene Church. 

Last year, some 1,500 wellwishers flocked to see Prince George and Princess Charlotte attend their first public service and greet the crowds.

Usually the royal family attend, two church services, a private worship and a later public one where they greets well-wishers. Pictured here, from left, is Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex on their way to Church in 2018

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge could spend their Christmas at the nearby Anmer Hall, a 10-bedroom mansion on the Sandringham estate, while, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will likely stay in their California home to avoid international travel.

According to Express’s royal correspondent Richard Palmer, palace staff are working on the assumption that the Queen will be able to travel on Christmas day and spend the day in the main house and Sandringham.

Last year, a Channel 5 documentary revealed the secrets behind the festivities at Sandringham, which sees member of the royal family arrive on Christmas Eve, to a ‘very strong’ cocktail reception served by Prince Philip.

The royals also take part in the German tradition of sharing gifts on Christmas Eve, a tradition started by Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert. 

But rather than the grand gifts you might expect the royal family gifting each other, they in fact compete to buy one another the tackiest, silliest gifts.

At 6pm precisely the royals are called into Sandringham’s drawing room, where they have a ‘holy evening’ of gift giving and view the gifts as the ‘jokier the better’, the documentary revealed.

Over the years, the Queen has received a ‘Big Mouth Billie Bass’ the comical singing fish that hangs on walls, as well as a washing up apron as gifts from her family.

One year, Prince Harry gifted his brother William a comb, making light of his hair loss, while The Duchess of Cambridge brought her brother-in-law a ‘Grow Your Own Girlfriend’ kit, before he met his wife Meghan.

The Queen usually has around 30 guests at the estate, including her children and grandchildren. Pictured is Prince Edward with his son James Viscount Severn, and daughter Lady Louise Windsor

The documentary revealed during her first visit at Sandringham, Princess Diana missed the memo and bought Princess Anne a cashmere jumper, only to receive a toilet roll holder in return.

She quickly learned her lesson though, and the following year purchased a leopard print bath mat for Sarah Ferguson. 

On Christmas morning, all guests, including the Corgis, receive a stocking in the morning which has gifts and fruit from the Queen inside. 

Royal writer Richard Kay previously explained: ‘We all think it’s a terribly formal, but really they have a  wonderful relaxed time at Sandringham like the rest of us.

He added the the family regularly play charades and party games.

After church,  the royals head back to the main house and enjoy a full Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, including mashed potatoes with cream and butter, sauteed parsnips with Parmesan,  carrots, stuffing, gravy and Brussels sprouts served with onion and shredded bacon.

Following dinner, the whole family watches the Queen’s Christmas message together.  

Most of the family leave on Boxing Day and make their way to see other parts of their family over the festive period, after taking part in the annual Boxing Day shoot.

The Queen and Prince Philip usually stay at the Norfolk Estate until early February, to mark the anniversary of George VI’s death. 

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