Queen, Prince Philip to spend Christmas at Windsor Castle

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LONDON (AP) — Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, will spend Christmas at Windsor Castle instead of their Sandringham estate for the first time in decades.

Buckingham Palace officials said Tuesday that the monarch and her husband may see some members of their family briefly in accordance with guidelines, but Christmas celebrations will likely involve just the couple.

“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 spokeswoman said.

The queen is not expected to attend church on Christmas Day to avoid large crowds of well-wishers gathering.

The royal family spent many Christmases at Windsor Castle when the queen’s children were small, but since the 1980s the royal family has celebrated Christmas and New Year at the queen’s country estate, Sandringham, in Norfolk, eastern England.

Hundreds of people typically gather near the historic church at Sandringham on Christmas Day to greet the royal family as they arrive for their morning service.

Officials in the U.K. say coronavirus restrictions will be relaxed for five days over the festive season to allow people to travel to see friends and family. Three households can form a “Christmas bubble” and socialize from Dec. 23 to 27.

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