Queen Elizabeth Skips Christmas Service

Fears for Queen Elizabeth’s health escalated today as the Monarch was too ill to attend the annual Christmas Day service at Sandringham Church, breaking a tradition that has been strictly adhered to for almost 30 years. Buckingham Palace issued a brief statement to try and allay speculation about the Queen’s health, saying, “The Queen continues to recover from a heavy cold and will stay indoors to assist with her recovery.” The statement added: “Her Majesty will participate in the royal family Christmas celebrations during the day.” However the absence of the Queen at the service, a key piece of royal iconography, and which she has attended every year since 1988, will be seen as deeply significant by royal observers. The 90-year-old Queen and Prince Philip, 95, were forced at the last minute to abandon plans to travel to Sandringham by train on Thursday, after becoming ill. Prince Philip was well enough to attend the service today.

Tom Sykes