Queen Elizabeth to miss family Christmas over virus fears

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Queen Elizabeth (Photo: Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth (Photo: Getty Images)

London, Dec 1, 2020 (AFP) -Queen Elizabeth II, who has spent much of the coronavirus outbreak in self-isolation because of her age, will forego her traditional family Christmas, the royal household said on Tuesday.

The 94-year-old monarch and her husband Prince Philip normally spend the festive season at her Sandringham estate in eastern England with other members of the family.

"Having considered all the appropriate advice, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have decided that this year they will spend Christmas quietly in Windsor," the royal household said, referring to a castle west of London.

The queen postponed public engagements and moved from her official residence in the British capital to Windsor on March 19 as the coronavirus outbreak took hold.

Britain has seen more than 59,000 deaths from nearly 1.65 million cases, with the elderly among the highest risk groups.

Prince Philip, who turned 99 on June 10, has been in poor health in recent years and spent four nights in hospital last December for an unspecified pre-existing condition.

Their eldest son Prince Charles and his son Prince William have both been isolating after showing mild Covid symptoms.

The queen made a rare televised address to the nation in early April calling on Britons to summon the "Blitz spirit" of World War II to get through the months-long lockdown.

She has also made a video-conference call to carers. Her weekly meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been conducted by telephone.

She was seen at a scaled-back, socially distanced "Trooping the Colour" parade in the grounds of Windsor on June 13 -- the first time it has been staged at the castle since 1895.

Also at Windsor in July, she knighted Captain Tom Moore, a 100-year-old World War II veteran who raised millions for health charities in a sponsored walk of his garden.

Her first public appearance outside one of her homes -- where she has a reduced household staff known as "HMS Bubble" -- was on October 16, when she visited the Porton Down research laboratory with grandson William.

She has also spent time at Balmoral, northeast Scotland, and Sandringham.

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