Queen and Prince Philip break tradition by spending Christmas at Windsor away from the rest of the family

·3-min read

For the first time in over 30 years the Royal Family aren't waking up at Sandringham this Christmas Day, with the Queen and Prince Philip spending it together in their lockdown bubble at Windsor Castle.

Earlier this month it was confirmed that the royal couple wouldn't be making their usual trip to Norfolk for the festive break, and like the rest of the country will be separated from other members of the royal family due to COVID-19 restrictions.

A palace spokesperson said at the time: "Having considered all the appropriate advice, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have decided that this year they will spend Christmas quietly in Windsor."

It's understood that the couple were content to have a quiet festive season this year, and like everyone hope things will get back to normal in 2021.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will spend the day privately at Highgrove, their home in Gloucestershire.

They released a new photo to celebrate Christmas, showing the couple dressed for a day out walking at their Birkhall home in Aberdeenshire.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children are at Anmer Hall in Norfolk, with the Earl and Countess of Wessex also understood to be staying with their children on the Sandringham estate.

Throughout the year everything possible has been done to keep the 94-year-old monarch and her 99-year-old husband as protected as possible from the virus, with only a small bubble of people allowed near them.

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The family have not spent Christmas in Windsor in more than thirty years.

There was rewiring work taking place in Windsor in 1988 that meant celebrations were moved to Sandringham.

For many royal watchers it has become part of their Christmas morning routine to get up early and watch the Windsors walk to St Mary Magdalene Church at Sandringham.

Every year thousands of people queue to have the opportunity to wish the royals a merry Christmas.

But this year we won't see the royals out in public at all because the palace doesn't want to encourage crowds to gather.

For this reason the Queen won't go to church and instead will attend some form of private worship within the grounds of Windsor Castle.

One royal Christmas Day tradition that will still take place is the broadcast of the Queen's Christmas message at 3pm.

In previous years the palace has released a preview of her Christmas message but have decided not to this year.

Her Majesty's rare televised addresses during the first lockdown and for VE day were seen as important moments for rallying the country during the pandemic.

As people across the UK continue to face uncertainty, what she decides to say in her message this year will be seen by many as particularly significant and poignant.

Watch the Queen's Christmas message on Sky News today at 3pm