The Queen has “with regret” cancelled her traditional pre-Christmas family lunch as a major Covid-19 surge grips the United Kingdom, with new cases currently at over 88,000 a day.
Approximately 50 members of the British Royal family were set to attend Windsor Castle for the Christmas celebration but in a precautionary measure, Her Majesty has cancelled the event; believing it would “put too many people’s Christmas arrangements at risk if it went ahead”, a Palace insider told The Sun.
The Queen will instead have her annual festive break at Sandringham where she will be joined by a small number of loved ones. The larger annual gathering was also scrapped last year due to concerns over Covid-19.
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The decision to postpone the event comes as Covid-19 cases soar across the UK with a record number of cases being recorded on Wednesday, December 16 driven by the Omicron variant.
In a recent press conference, England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty cautioned the public about attending gatherings and warned records “will be broken a lot over the next few weeks” regarding Covid-19 case numbers.
“I think what most people are doing – and I think this seems very sensible – is prioritising the social interactions that mean a lot to them and, to prioritise those ones, de-prioritising ones that mean much less to them,” he said.
It’s been a tumultuous year for Her Majesty. Following the passing of her beloved husband Prince Phillip, at the age of 99, in April, the Queen has grappled with a series of health issues.
In mid-October, the long-serving monarch had an overnight stay in hospital which forced her to slow down. She was given doctor’s orders to rest for two weeks, cancelling her trip to Northern Ireland in the meantime. Her Majesty was also instructed to give up her late-night television bonanza, with The Times reporting, “she is knackered.”
In early November, the Queen was seen with a walking cane for the first time in nearly 20 years, as she attended an event of thanks for the Royal British Legion.
This year marks the Queen’s first Christmas in 73 years without her husband Prince Philip.