How the Royal Family Is Spending the Holidays Amid Surge in COVID-19 Cases

While this Christmas will be the Queen's first since the passing of her husband Prince Philip, she will not be spending it alone

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Christmas will be looking a little different for the royal family this year.

Though Queen Elizabeth II is traditionally joined by members of her family — including Prince Charles, Prince William and Kate Middleton — for a Christmas Day walk from her Sandringham estate to the local church, her plans have changed amid a surge of COVID-19 cases in the United Kingdom due to the omicron variant.



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Instead of traveling to her country home, the 95-year-old monarch will instead celebrate the holiday at Windsor Castle, where she has been staying throughout the pandemic, according to a senior Buckingham Palace source.

While this Christmas will be the Queen's first since the passing of her husband Prince Philip, she will not be spending it alone. A Clarence House spokesman told the U.K. Press Association that Charles, 73, and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall will be with the Queen on Christmas Day.

As for William and Kate? The couple — who are parents to Prince George, 8, Princess Charlotte, 6, and Prince Louis, 3 — will be spending the holiday in Norfolk, England, according to a Kensington Palace spokesperson. The representative told the news organization that they will be joined by some members of the Middleton family.

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Also missing from the festivities in Windsor will be the Queen's daughter Princess Anne, who is currently isolating at her Gloucestershire home after her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, tested positive for COVID-19, People reported.

Meanwhile, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who moved to the United States last year after stepping back from their royal duties, will likely be spending Christmas at their California home. The pair — who share son Archie, 2, and daughter Lilibet, 6 months — recently gave the public a glimpse into their celebrations by unveiling their holiday card.

"This year, 2021, we welcomed our daughter, Lilibet, to the world. Archie made us a 'Mama' and a 'Papa', and Lili made us a family," the card, which featured a portrait of the family of four taken by Alexi Lubomirski, read in part. "Wishing you a happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year, from our family to yours!"

However, there is one holiday tradition that the Queen will still honor this year despite the pandemic: Her Christmas Day message. In a preview photo released on Dec. 23, she's seen sitting in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle alongside a framed photograph of herself and Philip, who died on April 9 at the age of 99, on her desk.

Her Majesty's annual speech is expected to be broadcast on Dec. 25.

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