Queen Elizabeth Is Breaking Her Christmas Tradition For the First Time in 32 Years
COVID-19 lockdown is killing the holiday spirit.
UPDATE 12/02/20, 7:30 a.m.: A Buckingham Palace source has confirmed to People that the Queen will not be spending Christmas at Sandringham as has been tradition for years.
"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," the Palace source said.
A royal source told People, "They are fortunate to spend Christmas with their family every year, but 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, their hope is that normality will return in 2021," the source added. The Queen and Philip may still see some members of their family, "but they understand that they have competing demands."
It is the first time in 32 years that the couple will not be at Sandringham for the holidays, The Guardian reports.
Like the rest of the world, Queen Elizabeth's Christmas is going to have to be an intimate affair. According to Page Six, England's lockdown protocols state that holiday festivities are limited to gatherings of no more than three households — and that includes the queen. The Telegraph notes that at age 94 (and a 99-year-old husband), Elizabeth is being very, very, careful and sequestering in a what's being called the "HMS Bubble."
The strict rules could get Prince William cut from the guest list. Because he has kids (George, Charlotte, and Louis), the Cambridges, including Kate Middleton, may have to stay away from the queen. They could plan on spending Christmas with Middleton's parents this year, since they've spent the last three with the queen.
"The risk of children who have been mixing with others at school would 'clearly' be taken into account in the decision," The Telegraph writes.
As for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, they won't be traveling from California and missed Christmas with the queen last year.
Sources told the Daily Mail that Prince Edward, the queen's third son, and his family will definitely be spending the holidays with her, saying, "Prince Edward and his family will be one of the two in her bubble."
The three-household rule doesn't mean that the family can't get together. If the royals follow tradition and hold their Boxing Day hunt, the Cambridges can attend, since it's an outdoor activity.
'"If they go to Sandringham, their traditional Boxing Day shoot could still take place, enabling them to see members of the family unable to join them on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day," the source continued.
The list of guests will be made public, The Telegraph reports. "They will sort it out between them," a source said. "It will be about what's practical."