The royal family, much like other UK families, has been forced to change their plans just days before Christmas after a Covid positive case close to the Queen’s inner circle.
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Princess Anne’s absence from around the dinner table on Christmas Day is expected to come as another bitter blow for the Queen, on her first holiday period without Prince Phillip.
Like so many other families whose festivities are being upturned with each day that passes, the monarch has once again been forced to alter her plans as well as her expectations of what this Christmas will hold.
The Queen had already cancelled a party for her extended family this week, delaying once more a chance to spend cherished time with loved ones she hasn’t seen for many months due to the Covid crisis.
This week she also pulled the plug on her longed for celebrations at Sandringham, her Norfolk home, where she has welcomed her family for the Christmas holidays for decades.
Instead, she was reportedly planning to remain in Windsor for the festive period.
Today’s news that Princess Anne’s husband, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, has tested positive for Covid, has thrown into doubt whether she would be able to attend a scaled-down version of a royal Christmas celebration.
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The Princess Royal is isolating at her Gatcombe Park home with Sir Timothy, 66, after he was confirmed today to have contracted the virus.
It will also mean that Anne could be forced to miss her grandson Lucas Tindall’s first Christmas.
The news will be even more upsetting for the family as it’s their first without Prince Philip.
While the Queen may be lacking several key family members over the festive period, what she is not lacking is the quality of leadership in a crisis.
That is why she took the decision to lead from the front on such matters and this is why her own words at the start of the crisis will once again ring true.
In a speech that will live long in the memory as the coronavirus crisis raged in the Spring of 2020, she invoked a wartime spirit to tell the nation ‘we will meet again’.
Those words seemingly have even more added significance this year, for her family and thousands of other families and friends who are getting used to having their Christmas plans altered due to a virus that is raging once again.
Speaking about the Monarch’s decision to scrap the royals’ annual trip, a senior palace source previously The Mirror: “The pre-Christmas family lunch will not be going ahead.
“The decision is a precautionary one as it is felt to put too many people’s Christmas arrangements at risk if it went ahead.
“While there is regret that it is cancelled, there is a belief it is the right thing to do for all concerned.”
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The Queen was due to fly to Sandringham today but instead is preparing to welcome her family to her Berkshire home.
The Queen’s guests for Christmas Day are still understood to include Prince Charles and Camilla, Prince Edward and his wife Sophie and their children, Louise and James.
Prince William, Kate and their three children – Prince George, eight, Princess Charlotte, seven and Prince Louis, three – will spend Christmas Day at their Anmer Hall residence in Norfolk and intend to see the Queen over the holidays.
Prince Andrew, who lives on the Queen’s Windsor estate, is understood not to have confirmed his plans and is likely to spend Christmas day with his daughters Princess Eugenie, her husband Jack Brooksbank and their 10 month old son August, as well as Princess Beatrice, her husband Edo Mapelli Mozzi and their three month old daughter Sienna.
The Duke of York’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson is also understood to be set to join them, before the family visit the Queen later in the day.
Senior royals last week agreed to cut back on all but essential contacts to ensure the Queen would not be alone at Christmas, after like so many others last year being forced to be apart from her loved ones.
The Queen spent the day with her late husband Prince Philip, who passed away in April aged 99, at Windsor Castle, where she has spent the majority of the pandemic after being evacuated from London at the start of the crisis.