Queen Elizabeth cancelled ‘Royal Christmas’ at Sandringham, she’ll stay in Windsor

Queen's Christmas broadcast

Over the summer, Queen Elizabeth pretended like the UK wasn’t in the middle of a deadly pandemic, and she forced her staff and her husband to travel to Scotland for their annual Balmoral holiday like usual. There was a lot of grumbling from the Balmoral staff too, because they had to be under a strict “HMS Bubble” isolation protocol, and even with all of that, it was apparently the worst Balmoral summer ever because all of the activities were cancelled because… you know, the pandemic. Even Prince Philip hated the entire trip and so they left Balmoral early and spent some time at Wood Farm, then they returned to Windsor Castle, which is where the Queen has been isolating since March.

Soon after the Balmoral debacle was over, the conversation began about the Queen’s Christmas plans. There was a scheme to allow the Queen to go to Sandringham like always for Christmas, but that scheme would have involved her staff isolating for four weeks at a time, which would have meant that dozens of staffers would not have been able to see THEIR families for Christmas. The staff was in revolt, and the Queen was said to be “furious.” Since then, there’s been a lot of talk about what will and will not be allowed and who the Queen will see over the holiday. Now there’s a confirmation as to the Queen’s Christmas plans: she and Philip will stay at Windsor Castle.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will spend a quiet Christmas at Windsor Castle due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is the first time in 32 years that the couple will not be at Sandringham for the festive period. The Queen usually remains at her estate in Norfolk until after the anniversary of her father’s death. George VI died at Sandringham on 6 February 1952.

Christmas Day is normally marked by a procession of royals walking from Sandringham House to nearby St Mary Magdalene church to attend the morning service, watched by members of the public allowed into the estate grounds. This year the Queen will not attend a Christmas Day service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, to avoid attracting crowds.

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: “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 source said: “The Queen and the duke are fortunate to spend Christmas with their family every year. 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 they hope things will get back to normal in 2021.”

With the couple likely to be alone on Christmas Day, it is understood they will see some family members over the festive break, though whether that will be inside the castle or outside in the grounds is not clear. It is not known which family members the couple are in a bubble with.

The Prince of Wales, 72, and Duchess of Cornwall, 73, will spend Christmas Day at their Highgrove home in Gloucestershire. They are expected to see the Queen, 94, and Philip, 99, at some point. The duchess also plans to see her family over the festive period.

Prince Andrew, 60, and Princess Eugenie, 30, who both live at Windsor, may also be candidates to visit.

[From The Guardian]

So much for the Boxing Day hunt at Sandringham! Too bad. It sounds like Liz’s staff finally got through to her that she couldn’t just keep carrying on like normal during the pandemic, that she had to be reasonable, especially about what she was demanding from her staff. Plus, she might actually ENJOY a looser, less German Christmas. There won’t be so many costume changes and day-drinking and she’ll probably get to spend time with her faves – Prince Andrew and the Countess of Wessex – anyway. Charles and Camilla will probably enjoy having a rare Christmas at Highgrove too.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit the London Ambulance Service during the Coronavirus crisis!

queen philip anniversary

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Buckingham Palace.

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35 Responses to “Queen Elizabeth cancelled ‘Royal Christmas’ at Sandringham, she’ll stay in Windsor”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    Poor petty betty. She has to stay in her castle.

    I bet the whole family is relieved – they can spend the Christmas holidays hunkered down in their own homes and just relax. Even if the wessexes go to Christmas dinner at Windsor or something, it will be a lot less structured and wont last for several days.

    I guess it is sad to think that this could very likely be Phillip’s last Christmas (or the queen’s) and they will spend it alone, but unfortunately that’s the reality right now for many people.

    • Sofia says:

      If it is their last Christmas, it could turn out to be a blessing. They might have a chance to actually enjoy it as husband and wife and not Queen and Prince Consort and enjoy it with just the 2 of them instead of 4 kids, multiple grandkids and great-grandkids running around.

      I know some people love a big family Christmas and HM might be one of them but who knows? She might appreciate the change in the future.

      • Becks1 says:

        true – this might give them the opportunity to enjoy the day and just be together and not change outfits 5 times a day. I’m sure they wont be alone the whole time and either Andrew or the Wessexes will visit.

        (also I do think we have said for the past 5 years lol that it was Phillip’s last Christmas, and he’s still hanging on.)

      • Mac says:

        This is an opportunity for the BRF to model good behavior about not having big gathering, but, instead, they have framed it as a hardship. We’re all living this nightmare and the queen isn’t hurting any more than the rest of us.

      • Mika says:

        This is sweet Sofia, but the last time Philip and Elizabeth has “husband and wife time” at Balmoral, Philip was stomping his feet to get back to his mistress at Wood Farm

      • Sofia says:

        @Mika hence why I said “could be”. Philip may not live long enough to appreciate it, but HM might and she might enjoy spending Christmas with her husband or at least pretend he’s enjoying it too.

    • Lorelei says:

      Poor Liz. Not only does she have to stay in one castle instead of her other castle or instead of her palace or that other palace…etc.

      Not only that — her family can’t gather the next day to shoot and kill animals for fun!

      What a bummer! Perhaps we should take up a collection here on CB to send her a sympathy card.

      • Elizabeth says:

        And the total disregard for her staffers having any sort of personal time or personal life. What a selfish, pampered, heedless person.

  2. BayTampaBay says:

    If a gun was put to my head and I was forced to go to one of these British Royal Family Christmas “dos”, I would choose Christmas at Highgrove with Charles & Camilla in a New York second. Just show me to my room then point point me in the direction of the drinks table.

    • cheryl says:


      I’m forever sad that they won’t ship Charles’ special Highgrove-label gin to the USA. You know it must be fabulous. “Charles-tested, Camilla-approved!”

    • Elizabeth Phillips says:

      Me, too. I’d love to see his garden!

  3. Lauren says:

    Oh poor queeny. She has had to give up so much this year. However will she carry on?

  4. Elle says:

    OT but I have to fact-check something with fellow celeb itches: are Canadians getting $1433 a month? Is the UK really providing stimulus funds of up to $3k a month?


    If so, a government to direct funds to its citizens to keep local economies going?? The BRF could be doing weekly Zooms with random British citizens to see how they are spending these funds, check on how the program is working- I am not even in PR – this just seems low- hanging fruit that would be PERFECT for W&Catherine. Perfect example of the BRF working in tandem with Parliament to highlight a vital program.

    Our measley $1200 checks proved that universal income did work because people used the funds to buy take out food and pay bills but the senate here will not approve a second package so we are on our own.

    *cries in American😔

    • Sofia says:

      I can only comment from the UK but I have no idea where the 3k a month or whatever is coming from.

      What we have is a furlough scheme. If you’re furloughed, the government will pay for 75% of your salary. There’s a certain limit to how much which is 2.5k a month.

      But that’s only if you’re employed and have been placed on furlough. Not everyone has so it’s not like we got a cheque saying “here’s 3k”

      Gosh I really need to keep up with the government schemes since they actually do effect me. Yes I’m embarrassed.

      • Mara says:

        Self-employed people who have been affected by the pandemic can also claim UK Government support. You can claim for up to 80% of your normal income about every three months with a cap of £7,500 per 3 month block.

    • Sunny in CDA says:

      Not sure where that dollar amount comes from for Canada. I have been working continuously and only got a bit from my provincial because I have kids. There have also been extra cheques for seniors and some tax rebates. My single working friends have gotten nothing. If you were unemployed, there was a response benefit that was $500 a week, no taxes removed. But there will be a tax bill come April. We now have expanded our unemployment programand tax is being taken off. But not every Canadian was sent a cheque like in the US

    • Nic919 says:

      Canadians who were laid off or lost jobs because of covid were able to apply for CERB which was $2000 a month starting in mid March until October. At that point people who were still out of work transitioned to EI, employment insurance.

      Canadians who ran businesses wouldn’t have qualified for CERB, as that was just for employees, but there was CEWS, the emergency wage subsidy, as well as rent relief and emergency interest business loans.

      It wasn’t a perfect system, but it was something.

      Also, if you got a job during this time, you were supposed to let them know. In any case it will come out during tax time because just like EI, you might have to repay it if your income is over a certain amount.

    • Pandora says:

      Correction: measly $1,200 dollar check. As in one check, once.

  5. Amy Bee says:

    I think back to last year when the courtiers and the media were crying that Harry and Meghan not being with Queen for Christmas was disrespectful and a snub. This year she’s going to be alone. Oh well.

    • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

      I guess C&C and W&K (and kids) aren’t considered to be “snubbing” Petty Betty and Petrified Phil if they choose not to be there…FOR WHAT COULD BE *GASP* THEIR LAST CHRISTMAAAAAAAS!!!! Hmmm… funny… I only hear crickets from the BM.

  6. Seraphina says:

    I guess the thought of having to have Kate and Cams serve her dinner was too much since the help wanted to be with their families.

  7. Coco says:

    Does Philip even know where he is? From all accounts I’ve read, he hasn’t been a good person, but let him spend the end of his life with some dignity. I find it pretty nauseating to think the Queen has him dragged around and posed like a mannequin for photo ops.

  8. Keen Kate says:

    The Queen is only allowed to have two other households visit during the festive period. She can’t have Andrew, Eugenie, the Wessexes, the Cambridges and the Cornwalls visit – even if they all came on different days.

    Interesting how she has been able to travel between homes in London, Berkshire, Norfolk and Scotland during the lockdown – considered long distances altogether in the UK.

  9. Amelie says:

    Since I’m guessing this is the first time in a long time the royals aren’t being forced to congregate for Christmas, I wonder if this break in tradition means family members will feel more emboldened to not attend if they don’t feel like it? I know much was made about Harry and Meghan’s 6 week break last year, which was basically a major clue they were going to exit very soon. But William and Kate also skipped the festivities one year (I forget, was Kate pregnant again?) to be with her family and I can’t remember if the media made a huge fuss about it.

    I know that my family really enjoyed our pared down Thanksgiving this year. We usually go to my aunt and uncle’s because my aunt loves making a huge feast. She always demands we get there at 2, but we don’t actually sit down to eat until 4 or 5 and by then we’re all starving and gorged ourselves on the hors-d’oeuvres. Then we gorge ourselves on Thanksgiving food and all leave with stomachaches. This year, we were able to do things at our own pace so we didn’t sit down to eat until about 6 or 6:30 (we’ve always eaten dinner later and never before 7 pm), you know an ACTUAL Thanksgiving dinner time (3 pm is not dinner and I don’t care what anyone says lol). We really loved we were able to eat much later and I kind of want to keep doing it.

    • Becks1 says:

      The Cambridge article says that they missed it twice, but I only remember the one time with the “competing” church walk, which I think was not received well by BP and CH and they were probably told they either went to Sandringham or stayed home – that was the last time they had a separate Christmas as far as I remember. I know Kate did NOT go to sandringham the year they were engaged, but maybe they missed another one and I’m just not remembering (maybe the year she was pregnant with George?)

      I think Zara and Mike Tindall regularly miss it and celebrate Christmas in Australia, Camilla never goes – I feel like its less of a command appearance than people make it out to be? or maybe those people just DGAF anymore lol.

      ETA they missed in 2012 and 2016 – so 2016 was the competing church walk. 2012 she was pregnant with George.

  10. Lady D says:

    Petty Betty has just cancelled the gift giving for the servants and staff this year. LMAO, she’s still pissed nobody would bubble for her. Petty indeed. The staff will really miss their royal seal embossed ashtrays.

    • Pop says:

      Cancelled it in person. Dont twist it to fit your agenda. They will still get their gifts.

      • Lady D says:

        Wasn’t actually twisting anything. I made my comment based on the headline I read. I usually skim 4-5 newspapers in the morning and read the articles that interest me. This headline seemed right up Petty Betty’s alley.
        p.s., your first sentence can be taken two different ways. I guess we could both benefit from less ambiguity:)

      • Lizzie says:

        It’s also nice to leave comments and not insult anyone.

  11. Jolie says:

    I can imagine at 94 and 99 they will be quite relieved to spend Christmas without the rest of the family and the kids running round.

    • Lizzie says:

      Perhaps they could be grateful for the 90+ Christmases they have spent in good health and abundance. Or recognize as the leader of her faith that the true meaning of Christmas is not which castle or palace you spend the day.

  12. The Recluse says:

    They have a tradition at Sandringham on New Year’s Eve: everyone has to be out of the place by the stroke of midnight, standing outside, or it’s bad luck. I wonder what it will mean if no one is there, except the staff who are likely not to bother in absence of the royal family?

  13. AmelieB says:

    Is anyone else looking at the pictures on her desk trying to see if any of the pictures are of Harry and Megan, Diana, or the Queen’s sister, Margaret?

  14. Jen says:

    This is what gets me about when people say she has given her whole life in service for her country – her whole life has been mainly about her pampered whims with some service thrown in. I mean, a service to her country of recording a brief Christmas message and then enforcing the rest of the holiday for her whole family to be exactly how she wants it? With all the staff that entails? She’s just pampered.