Queen Elizabeth II has decided to move the festivities to her castle in Windsor, England, instead of traveling to her estate in the town of Sandringham, as is often the case every year to celebrate Christmas, confirmed a senior source from Buckingham Palace to NBC News.
The decision was made as a result of COVID-19 cases were on the increase, as well as reports of the omicron variant have also caused an increase, the source shared.
The change in this celebration marks the second year in a row that the queen will break the tradition of the royal family festivities. Since last year, the Queen and Prince Philip, who passed away in April at the age of 99, canceled the trip to their private home due to concerns about the coronavirus.
Queen Elizabeth Makes a Decision on Royal Family Christmas Plans amid COVID Surge pic.twitter.com/byKLxzy9tv
— People (@people) December 21, 2021
“Having considered all appropriate advice, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have decided that this year they will spend Christmas quietly in Windsor” a Buckingham Palace spokesperson told NBC News at the time.
Usually the Queen met her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren at Sandringham House during the holidays. On Christmas morning, the family would visit St. Mary Magdalene for services. Many travel on foot from the main house to the church for the ritual.
After the religious ceremony was concluded, the queen would return to her home for her televised speech on Christmas Day to the nation.
Although visiting Sandringham is a long-established practice, the royalty has rearranged their Christmas plans many times in the past. Although the change of scenery at the festivities this year will not be the first for the family, this Christmas will be the first in which the queen will not have her husband by her side.