Politics

Queen cancels annual Christmas family party amid fears about Omicron variant

The Queen has decided to cancel her annual pre- Christmas family party next week.

A source from Buckingham Palace confirmed that the decision to call off the traditional royal gathering comes as Covid-19 cases rise with the surge of the Omicron variant.

It is understood that the move was a precaution with the source suggesting it may put too many people’s Christmas plans at risk if it were to go ahead, as reported by Wales Online.

Arrangements were reportedly set to go ahead at Windsor Castle for December 21’s Christmas lunch, which the head of the monarchy, aged 95, hosts each year for her extended family.

Last year’s lunch was also abandoned due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Most years, the Queen invites her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to join her at Buckingham Palace before she departs for her annual Christmas stay at Sandringham.

The palace is undergoing major renovation works at present.

The pre-Christmas celebration gives the head of state a chance to catch up with relatives who are unable to travel to Norfolk for Christmas Day.

The wider family is also usually invited, including the Queen’s cousins the Gloucesters, the Duke of Kent and the Michaels of Kent.

This Christmas is the Queen’s first since the death of her husband of 73 years, the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Queen and Philip spent Christmas Day together at Windsor in 2020, without the rest of the family, after spending most of the year being cared for by a reduced number of staff in what was dubbed HMS Bubble.

She has only been carrying out light duties since October 20 when concerns for her health were heightened after royal doctors ordered her to rest and she spent a night in hospital undergoing tests.

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