Royals to skip Christmas church trip but Queen hopes they’ll spend day together

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The Queen has made the difficult decision to cancel the royal family’s annual Christmas Day church trip this year.

Members of the public normally gather outside St Mary Magdalene Church to see the Monarch, Prince Charles, Camilla, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the rest of the family in Sandringham.

However in a bid to keep everyone safe amid the Covid pandemic, the family won’t attend this year – however the Queen still hopes they can celebrate together, reports the Express.

The newspaper claims that she hopes the government will scrap the Rule of Six before the big day, which will allow them to be together in some way.

As it stands, both the Queen and the Cambridges are living in Tier 2 areas so can’t mix indoors with other households.

Palace staff are working on the assumption that the Queen will travel to Sandringham, where Philip is currently living, and the couple will stay in the main house.

Often the royals go to two church services on Christmas Day – the first one in private and the second at the local church where they also meet well-wishers.

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If she skips the more public of the two, it’s believed to be only the third time in her reign that she hasn’t attended.

A bad cold meant she didn’t join the family for the religious service in 2016, and she also missed it in 1953 as she was abroad.

Whatever happens in terms of restrictions, it’s almost certain that their Christmas celebrations will be very different this year.

They normally kick off their celebrations on Christmas Eve, starting with afternoon tea and opening presents, in line with their German heritage.

Prince Philip oversees organising the gifts, which are always jokey presents rather than expensive offerings, and tells everyone when they can open them.

On Christmas Day they tuck into a traditional feast with all the trimmings at 1pm.

Former royal chef Darren McGrady revealed exactly what the Queen eats during an interview with Good Housekeeping .

He said: “After church, that’s when they have a big lunch that includes a salad with shrimp or lobster, and a roasted turkey, and all of your traditional side dishes like parsnips, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and Christmas pudding with brandy butter for dessert.

“They stick with the same meal year after year.”

In the afternoon they sit down and watch the Queen’s Speech, which is prerecorded, before splitting off for separate conversations – including one-to-one chats with the Queen.