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The Royal Family’s Christmas 2021 Plans Are Impacted By Omicron Variant

Even royals aren’t exempt from ever-shifting holiday plans in the wake of the Omicron variant’s rise. Per People, Queen Elizabeth II and her family will skip their traditional Christmas trip to the Sandringham Estate this year, opting instead for Her Majesty to remain at Windsor Castle. The queen has already set such a precedent by canceling her pre-Christmas lunch with the family, and as COVID cases spike across England, there was reason to anticipate the queen would take similar precautions for the holiday itself.

According to The Mirror, the queen was determined, if possible, to share in the usual celebrations at Sandringham, especially given that this is the family’s first Christmas without the queen’s husband, Prince Philip, who passed away in April. Out of an abundance of caution, Her Majesty skipped her usual Sunday church service ahead of Dec. 25, and has now announced she will forego the trip to Sandringham. This will be the second year in a row that the queen will stay at Windsor for Christmas festivities.

A source told The Mirror prior to the announcement that, “if alternative arrangements need to be made, right up to the last minute as per government advice, Her Majesty will lead from the front.” People confirmed this, adding that a royal source told the outlet the choice was made after “careful consideration.”

Members of the queen’s extended family are expected to visit her so she won’t spend the holiday alone, though several will not be in attendance: Prince William, Kate Middleton and their children will spend Christmas in Norfolk with the larger Middleton family, says Daily Express royal reporter Richard Palmer. In addition, due to Princess Anne’s husband, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, testing positive for COVID, the couple will isolate in Gloucestershire, per People,

Although eschewing the Sandringham visit means the royals will not participate in their usual Dec. 25 walkabout, it’s possible other family members will still gather to open gifts on Christmas Eve, as is their custom. It’s as yet unconfirmed which relatives will be stopping by when, but a source confirmed to People that these visits are expected to take place.

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