Prince Andrew joins Queen and royals for Christmas Day church service in Sandringham

Rebecca Taylor, news reporter

Prince Andrew has joined the Queen and other members of the Royal Family for a Christmas Day church service in Sandringham.

The Duke of York, who has kept a low profile since leaving his public role in the family amid the scandal of his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, arrived with Prince Charles.

He was not expected to walk in with the Queen as he has done in previous years, and instead walked in perfect unison with Prince Charles.

He only attended the 9am service, and was not present for the traditional 11am service.

The Queen arrived at church by car for both the 9am and 11am services, though she was not joined by her husband Philip this year.

He was discharged from hospital yesterday after spending four nights in King Edward VII's in central London receiving treatment for a pre-existing condition.

The Queen changed outfits between the two services, arriving for the second of the day in a red ensemble.

She came with Sophie Countess of Wessex, at 9am, and with Camilla Duchess of Cornwall at 11am.

It was also Prince George and Princess Charlotte's first time at the 11am Christmas Day service, arriving with their mother and father the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Sky's royal correspondent Rhiannon Mills said it's the Queen's decision who goes to church with her for the 11am service.

Prince Louis was not brought along to the service.

After the service Charlotte joined her mother while George stayed with his father to greet well-wishers outside the church.

Charlotte stayed close to her mum, putting her hand in her pocket and getting a comforting cuddle from her.

As the family made their way out of the church, Kate was seen crouching down to speak to her daughter.

The pair appeared to be colour co-ordinated, with Kate's green hat matching Charlotte's coat.

Karen Anvil, who took the famous picture of the Sussexes and the Cambridges in 2017, snapped a picture of Princess Charlotte this year, as she accepted a doll which had been made by her friend.

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She said: "My friend was up late last night making this and I asked Charlotte if she would like it.

"She came over with her mum, and she took the doll, she liked the doll.

"The manners are outstanding. But she's cheeky - people say she looked scared, but when you're a mum you know when your child is trying to keep a straight face, and she is cheeky."

Asked about Prince George, six, she said he seemed more anxious than his younger sister.

Princess Beatrice was joined by her fiancee Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi. The Daily Mail reported the Queen had extended the Christmas Day invitation to him ahead of their wedding next year.

Previously it had only been royals and their spouses, but Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, was also invited to Sandringham for Christmas before she married Prince Harry.

Beatrice and Mr Mozzi arrived alongside Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank.

Edward the Earl of Wessex walked in with his daughter Lady Louise Windsor.

Prince Harry and Meghan are spending Christmas abroad this year, reportedly with the blessing of the Queen, as they take a six-week break from royal duties.

They shared a post on Instagram wishing their followers a Merry Christmas, with a Santa hat perched on top of their monogram.

Royal commentator Alastair Bruce said: "The Royal Family is a family and not every family has an easy time all of the time.

"In the last year the Queen had the agonising realisation that Prince Philip had been involved in a car accident, and he was alarmed that others had been injured in it.

"That was a bad start to the year and of course Prince Andrew is caught up in a matter that he probably would wish was not the case and I think the Queen as a mother has done her best to support her son.

"But on this occasion when the family is together the Queen wants all her children and great-grandchildren to be together and make the best of it."

He also said the Queen is probably missing her grandson Harry as she has a soft spot for him, but that the lack of picture of him and his wife around her for her Christmas message is unlikely to be a reflection of anything other than her being unable to put all her photos out every year.

Hundreds of royal watchers waited outside the church to get their glimpse of the family members, with some arriving as early as 1am for a prime spot.

With the absence of the Sussexes, there will be no chance for a recreation of the image of the "fab four" alongside the Cambridges.

After church the royals will have Christmas lunch at Sandringham and then watch the Queen's Christmas message.

This year she will speak about the "bumpy" path her family and the nation has experienced over the last year.

As the Queen is the head of the Church of England, church services on Christmas Day are an important part of the royals celebrations.

She and her family arrived in time for the 9am service at the church on the estate ahead of the traditional 11am service.

The royal family swap gifts on Christmas Eve, and usually give each other silly, token presents.