Queen to miss New Year's Day service

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The Queen will not attend a New Year’s Day church service at Sandringham because of a “lingering heavy cold”, Buckingham Palace says.

The Duke of Edinburgh is expected at church after he made a full recovery.

The couple left for their Christmas break a day late on December 22, travelling by helicopter instead of train, because they were both ill.

The Queen missed the Christmas Day service at her Norfolk estate and has not been seen in public for 12 days.

Up and about

A palace spokeswoman said the Queen was “still recuperating”.

Despite having had the cold for more than a week, she is understood to be up and about.

Her absence from church on Christmas Day was the first time she had missed the service in many years.

Buckingham Palace said that was a “precautionary measure” and it had “no sense of undue concern”.

‘Voluntary prisoner’

The BBC’s Richard Galpin, at the Sandringham estate, said: “We do understand she is up and about. There’s no indication of there being any other serious illness involved.”

The BBC’s royal correspondent Peter Hunt said staying in was a decision the Queen, as Supreme Governor of the Church of England, would not have taken lightly.

“She has a very deep personal faith – she has talked about God being an anchor in her life. But this is an exercise of caution by a 90-year-old monarch,” he said.

“Plenty of people are feeling miserable with a heavy cold; She’s feeling pretty miserable with a heavy cold.

“It is not flu, it is not pneumonia. If you stay indoors you limit the risks of it getting worse.”

She was still receiving and looking at government papers, he said, but was “in essence, a voluntary prisoner within her own home”.

“It’s a very nice home to be a prisoner in. But she hasn’t, for the last 12 days, got out to her 20,000 acre private estate.”

The New Year’s Day service at Sandringham on Sunday will be led by the Bishop of Norwich and other members of the royal family are expected to attend.

It is not known whether the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have travelled to Sandringham for the new year after they, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, spent Christmas with Kate’s family, at Bucklebury in Berkshire.

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