How Queen Elizabeth Is Spending Her First Christmas Without Prince Philip

She will be joined by Prince Charles and Camilla.

Queen Elizabeth has changed her Christmas plans once again due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of heading to the royal country at Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, England, the Queen will spend her holiday — the first Christmas since her husband died — at Windsor Castle. The change of plans is being described by Buckingham Palace as a personal decision and the reflection of a cautionary approach to mitigating risk as COVID-19 cases surge around the world and across the U.K.

And while Prince Philip will not be at her side this year, Prince Charles and Camilla will be expected to join her at Windsor Castle, according to the BBC. A complete guest list has not yet been revealed.

Buckingham Palace did tell the BBC everyone in attendance will follow "all appropriate guidelines."

The news of Prince Charles and Camilla joining the Queen for the holidays comes the same days as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle publicly shared their Christmas card which was complete with a photo of their children, Archie and Lilibet.

Queen Elizabeth
Samir Hussein - Pool/WireImage

Sightings of Queen Elizabeth have been few and far between in recent months. In the fall, Queen Elizabeth canceled a series of public events — including planned appearances at the COP26 Climate in Scotland because of health concerns after she was forced to spend a night in the hospital in October.

The Queen's annual holiday traditions include a luncheon for extended family at Buckingham Castle, which also has been canceled this year, and a Christmas morning church service at St. Mary Magdalene in Sandringham. The Royal Family typically walks to the church in Sandringham on Christmas morning, giving members of the public a chance to greet them along the way.

This year, the Royal Family isn't expected to attend a church service on Christmas morning, according to The Guardian.

Last Year, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip also spent Christmas Day at Windsor Castle, which marked the first time in more than 30 years that the royal family didn't spend Christmas at the country estate. Of course, Windsor Castle takes decking the halls seriously, making it quite the festive place to spend a holiday when you can't get away.

Meena Thiruvengadam is a travel and business journalist who loves wandering new streets and discovering the world's stories. Find her on Facebook, Instagram, or at the airport, and subscribe to her newsletter.

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