On Thursday, Queen Elizabeth cancelled her pre-Christmas luncheon at Windsor Castle. Usually, the lunch happens at Buckingham Palace, but she cancelled everything last year because of the pandemic, and then this year, the Omicron variant has come to play, so of course the Queen and her advisors thought it would be unwise to have a gathering of 50-plus royals. Incidentally, doesn’t it feel like this week the conversation has gone from “the Omicron variant is dangerous, be on alert” to “holy sh-t, everyone is getting Covid now, there are so many breakthrough cases and everything needs to be cancelled”? The truth is that people should still get their boosters and wear masks and social-distance when possible and those are still the best solutions. But yeah, the numbers are f–king STARK. Anyway, it seems like Omicron has changed all of the royal Christmas plans:
Senior royals including Kate Middleton and Prince William have reportedly ditched all their plans ahead of Christmas so they can spend time with the Queen as Omicron cases surge. Daily Covid infections hit a pandemic high yesterday with 88,376 new cases reported after Chris Witty urged Brits to “prioritise social interactions that really matter to them” or risk catching the virus.
Kate and Wills, Prince Charles and Camilla, Princess Anne, Prince Edward and wife Sophie have now decided to cancel their festive plans to ensure they can be with the Queen on Christmas Day, reports the Mirror. It’s understood they’ve agreed to reduce all but essential contacts ahead of the big day.
Their decision comes after the Queen decided to pull the plug on her annual pre-Christmas family lunch because of the rapid spread of Omicron. The decision to axe the traditional meal for up to 50 at Windsor Castle was made in a bid to keep the family apart — in the hope that a big festive bash can go ahead at Sandringham.
As she faces her first Christmas without Prince Philip, senior aides say her plans “continue to be under review” and a decision is expected next week. But some insiders believe the Queen will end up staying at Windsor for the festive season.
Dickie Arbiter, the Queen’s former press secretary, said: “The luncheon is very important to the Queen because it is the one time of the year when the whole extended family gets together. Having cancelled this lunch I’d be very surprised if she decamped and took her family to Sandringham. Windsor has been a secure bubble since the start of the pandemic. The Queen leads by example and expects the rest of the family to follow suit. In this very infectious time it is better to be safe than sorry.”
I do feel a bit sorry for the Queen, just because we got the sense that she was really looking forward to having family around during the holiday season, and it IS her first Christmas as a widow. I wonder if she will decide to stay at Windsor for Christmas. My first thought was about food, because my first thoughts are always about food. But Sandringham staff were obviously preparing to host the family for Christmas, so what happens to all that food? Is it driven down to Windsor? Does the staff get to eat it? Methinks William and Kate will be very mad if they have to spend Christmas Day in Windsor as well.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.