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Sunday, 25 December 2016

Dozens of royals attended a church service at the Sandringham Estate

Dozens of royals attended a church service at the Sandringham Estate today - a cornerstone of the family's Christmas celebrations - however the Queen herself was notably absent as she continues to recover from a heavy cold.
Prince Charles, The Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Harry, the Earl of Wessex and Prince Andrew joined other royals as they made their way from Sandringham House to St Mary Magdalene Church where they enjoyed two Christmas services.  
As supreme Governor of the Church of England, the Queen's faith is incredibly important to her - and this is the first time in nearly 30 years the 90-year-old Monarch has missed the service, which she and her husband Prince Philip, 95, have attended every year since 1988.
It is thought the Queen has not missed a Christmas Day service at either Sandringham or Windsor Castle - the previous location for the monarch's festive break - in living memory. 
This comes amid a tumultuous week for the royals, which has seen the Queen and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh struck down with illness and the tragic news her granddaughter Zara Tindall had lost her unborn baby.
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall led the way as the family arrived for a second, more public service at the church on the Sandringham Estate
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall led the way as the family arrived for a second, more public service at the church on the Sandringham Estate
Prince Harry delighted this lady - who is 93 and a half, and  had been waiting for hours - as he stopped and took the time to wish her a Merry Christmas
Prince Harry delighted this lady - who is 93 and a half, and had been waiting for hours - as he stopped and took the time to wish her a Merry Christmas
Despite feeling under the weather, the Duke of Edinburgh was in high spirits as he left the church with Prince Harry and Sophie, Countess of Wessex
Despite feeling under the weather, the Duke of Edinburgh was in high spirits as he left the church with Prince Harry and Sophie, Countess of Wessex




The service at Sandringham is one of the highlights in the Royal calendar, in which members of the family spend quality time with one another. 
However this is the first time in some 28 years the Queen has not attended. 
A spokesman for Kensington Palace said today: 'Her Majesty The Queen will not attend Church at Sandringham this morning. 
'The Queen continues to recover from a heavy cold and will stay indoors to assist with her recovery. 
'Her Majesty will participate in the Royal Family Christmas celebrations during the day.' 
There was an outpouring of grief yesterday following news the Queen's granddaughter Zara Tindall and her 38-year-old husband lost their unborn baby, just weeks after revealing they were expecting their second child. 
The pair had been expected to spend Christmas at Sandringham but were not seen today. 
And in a break from tradition, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have this year chosen to spend the holidays with Kate's parents, Michael and Carol Middleton, at their home in the village of Bucklebury, Berkshire, some 170 miles away. 
It came as a surprise to many that, in this special year the Queen reached her magnificent 90-year milestone and Prince Philip turned 95, two of their great-grandchildren Prince George, aged three, and Princess Charlotte, 18 months, will not be with them.
Prince Harry, meanwhile, is at the estate alone as his girlfriend, American actress Meghan Markle, 35, spends the festive season with her family in Toronto. 
Although Miss Markle was not invited the Queen is said to be 'fully supportive' of her grandson's relationship with the actress.
Senior members of the family have joined the Queen at Sandringham and they will all be sitting down promptly at 1.15pm in the green-walled dining room hung with Spanish tapestries and rising after just over an hour to be in good time to watch her annual message on TV to the Commonwealth at 3pm. 
In her Christmas speech broadcast later on today, the Queen will praise the 'inspirational' Team GB athletes in her Christmas Day address, as well as the achievements of 'ordinary people doing extraordinary things'.  
Queen stays away ill as Royals attend Christmas Day service
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In a break from tradition, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (pictured with Prince George and Princess Charlotte), hare spending the holidays with Kate's parents, Michael and Carol Middleton, at their home in the village of Bucklebury, Berkshire
Prince William and Kate have opted to spend Christmas with her family in Bucklebury, where they were pictured arriving at church this morning
Kate looked resplendent in a festive maroon coat
Prince William and Kate have opted to spend Christmas with her family in Bucklebury, where they were pictured arriving at church this morning
From left, Savannah Phillips, Autumn Phillips, Prince Harry, Prince Charles,  Princess Eugenie and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
From left, Savannah Phillips, Autumn Phillips, Prince Harry, Prince Charles, Princess Eugenie and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
Prince Harry was all smiles - despite his girlfriend, American actress Meghan Markle spending the holidays in Toronto
Prince Harry was all smiles - despite his girlfriend, American actress Meghan Markle spending the holidays in Toronto
The Duke of Edinburgh - who has been suffering with a heavy cold all this week
The Duke took his coat off before entering the church
The Duke of Edinburgh - who has been suffering with a heavy cold all this week - took his coat off before entering the church
Prince Harry: The 32-year-old royal even stopped to say hello to a dog wearing a festive get-up including baubles and a jumper
Prince Harry: The 32-year-old royal even stopped to say hello to a dog wearing a festive get-up including baubles and a jumper
Little Isla Phillips, four, holds hands with her grandmother Anne, Princess Royal, and her father, Peter Phillips
Little Isla Phillips, four, holds hands with her grandmother Anne, Princess Royal, and her father, Peter Phillips
Prince Harry stood outside the church with his father, Prince Charles after attending the traditional Christmas morning church service near the Sandringham estate in rural Norfolk
Prince Harry stood outside the church with his father, Prince Charles after attending the traditional Christmas morning church service near the Sandringham estate in rural Norfolk
Princess Eugenie wore a ,  red felt cocktail hat by Sarah Cant
and a black clutch bag by new London handbag designer Stacy Chan
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall wore a long blue royal blue coat with black accessories
Princess Eugenie (left) wore a red felt cocktail hat by Sarah Cant and a black clutch bag by new London handbag designer Stacy Chan, while Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (right) wore a long blue royal blue coat with black accessories
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, James, Viscount Severn, Princess Eugenie and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, James, Viscount Severn, Princess Eugenie and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex greeted crowds with 13-year-old Lady Louise Windsor who looked smart and elegant in her nude ballet pumps, grey marl coat and pale blue dress with matching silver clutch bag
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex greeted crowds with 13-year-old Lady Louise Windsor who looked smart and elegant in her nude ballet pumps, grey marl coat and pale blue dress with matching silver clutch bag
Princess Beatrice (left) teamed her military-style coat, cinched in at the waist with a thick black belt, with vertiginous platform heels and a gingham headband complete with red rose. Her sister Princess Eugenie (right) opted for black court shoes, a grey marl coat, black leather gloves, a red felt cocktail hat by Sarah Cant and a black clutch bag by London designer Stacy Chan
Princess Beatrice (left) teamed her military-style coat, cinched in at the waist with a thick black belt, with vertiginous platform heels and a gingham headband complete with red rose. Her sister Princess Eugenie (right) opted for black court shoes, a grey marl coat, black leather gloves, a red felt cocktail hat by Sarah Cant and a black clutch bag by London designer Stacy Chan
Autumn Phillips - the wife of Peter Phillips, the oldest grandchild of Queen, with her daughter Savannah 
Autumn Phillips - the wife of Peter Phillips, the oldest grandchild of Queen, with her daughter Savannah 
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and the Prince of Wales - who could be seen leaning on his umbrella outside the church
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and the Prince of Wales - who could be seen leaning on his umbrella outside the church
Prince Harry - looking smart in a paisley-print blue tie with matching shirt - smiled as his legions of fans greeted him
Prince Harry - looking smart in a paisley-print blue tie with matching shirt - smiled as his legions of fans greeted him
In her annual televised message to the nation, the monarch will speak on the theme of 'inspiration', citing the work of 'unsung heroes' across the nation.
The broadcast comes at the end of a momentous year in which the UK voted for Brexit, leading to David Cameron resigning, and the Queen celebrated her 90th birthday.
The Queen, wearing a blue dress by Angela Kelly, will also refer to the achievements of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, which celebrated its 60th anniversary, and The Prince's Trust, which turned 40 this year. 
Earlier in the week, royal aides were forced to cancel plans for the Queen and her husband to travel to Sandringham by train at the last minute after doctors deemed them too unwell to go.

Just over 24 hours later on Thursday and in a very unusual move, the royal couple took off from Buckingham Palace by helicopter. 
The Queen never normally travels to Sandringham by helicopter, preferring to go by train or car, and her helicopter is only usually used to carry members of the Royal family on public engagements. 
On Tuesday the Queen hosted her annual pre-Christmas lunch - a royal tradition which allows her to catch up with more distant relations who are not invited to join her at Sandringham on the 25th.
And it was also revealed earlier this week that the Monarch had relinquished more than two dozen of her most high profile patronages as she took another step back from royal duties.
As she carried a white floral arrangement, Sophie, Countess of Wessex looked fantastic in her red and black dress
As she carried a white floral arrangement, Sophie, Countess of Wessex looked fantastic in her red and black dress
Prince Harry meetinng the public - many of whom had travelled from around the country - after the service
Prince Harry meetinng the public - many of whom had travelled from around the country - after the service
Prince William & Duchess of Cambridge arrive at church service
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The Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke of Edinburgh and (back row), The Earl of Wessex, Lady Louise Windsor and the Countess of Wessex head to the church at Sandringham 
The Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke of Edinburgh and (back row), The Earl of Wessex, Lady Louise Windsor and the Countess of Wessex head to the church at Sandringham 
Prince Charles, The Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke of Edinburgh attend the early Christmas Day Service
Prince Charles, The Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke of Edinburgh attend the early Christmas Day Service
Prince Harry, his cousin Princess Eugenie and Princess Anne's daughter-in-law Autumn Phillips head to the service
Prince Harry, his cousin Princess Eugenie and Princess Anne's daughter-in-law Autumn Phillips head to the service
Prince Philip, 95, walking back to Sandringham House: This is the first time in nearly 30 years his wife, the 90-year-old Monarch, has missed the service St Mary Magdalene Church
Prince Philip, 95, walking back to Sandringham House: This is the first time in nearly 30 years his wife, the 90-year-old Monarch, has missed the service St Mary Magdalene Church
Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, wrapped up in a woollen scarf as he made his way to St Mary Magdalene Church
Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, wrapped up in a woollen scarf as he made his way to St Mary Magdalene Church
The Earl of Wessex, Lady Louise Windsor and the Countess of Wessex appeared to be embracing the festive spirit en route to the church 
The Earl of Wessex, Lady Louise Windsor and the Countess of Wessex appeared to be embracing the festive spirit en route to the church 
Princess Beatrice and Peter Phillips, the oldest son of Anne, Princess Royal
Anne, Princess Royal
Left, Princess Beatrice and Peter Phillips, the oldest son of Anne, Princess Royal and right, Anne, Princess Royal 
The Duke of Edinburgh, pictured just behind the Duchess of Cornwall, has been struck down with a heavy cold this week 
The Duke of Edinburgh, pictured just behind the Duchess of Cornwall, has been struck down with a heavy cold this week 
Princess Eugenie seemed to be in high spirits as she chatted animatedly to Princess Anne's daughter-in-law Autumn Phillips and Prince Harry walked alongside them 
Princess Eugenie seemed to be in high spirits as she chatted animatedly to Princess Anne's daughter-in-law Autumn Phillips and Prince Harry walked alongside them 
Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke of Edinburgh wrapped up warm against the cold wind as they led the way to the private mass 
Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke of Edinburgh wrapped up warm against the cold wind as they led the way to the private mass 
Zara Tindall along with her husband Mike and daughter Mia, were thought to have been planning to spend Christmas Day at the Queen’s country house in Norfolk.
However they were not seen with other members of the Royal Family today.
Speaking to Country Life magazine in November, Zara spoke about how she was looking forward to spending Christmas with her family.
She said: 'Having all the generations of my family together at Christmas is my favourite part of the season.
'Christmas takes on a new magic when you have children'.