For the second year in a row, the Queen has cancelled her annual pre-Christmas family gathering because of the Omicron, which has caused Covid cases to skyrocket. The 95-year-old monarch was determined to host the lunch till Wednesday with about 50 people. However, as the UK hits the highest daily number of Covid cases, the Queen has officially cancelled the lunch as the party could put too many people at risk.
This is the Queen's first Christmas after the death of her husband—Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. Usually, she invites her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to join her at Buckingham Palace before she leaves for her annual stay at Sandringham. With a couple of new members in the family this year, the party was set to welcome the Queen’s great-grandchildren- August, Lucas and Sienna.
Not a home alone Christmas
On one side, the Queen cancels her Christmas celebration, the senior royals, on the other side, cancel all their pre-Christmas plans to ensure they can be with the Queen. Last year, when the Christmas celebrations were cancelled, the Queen spent quiet time with Prince Philip at the Windsor Palace. But with him gone this year, senior royals have stepped up to make sure she does not spend Christmas alone.
Prince Charles and Camilla, Prince William and Kate, Princess Anne, and Prince Edward and his wife Sophie have all cancelled their pre-Christmas plans to be with her. However, her actual Christmas plans are still under review. Meaning, she might possibly not take a trip to Sandringham this year as well. One of the Queen’s spokespersons confirmed,
The luncheon is very important to the Queen because it is the one time of the year when the whole extended family gets together.
Having cancelled this lunch, I’d be very surprised if she decamped and took her family to Sandringham. Windsor has been a secure bubble since the start of the pandemic.
While senior royals cancel their plans to be with the Queen as she goes through her first Christmas without her husband. Prince Harry and Meghan are expected to stay in the US. Reportedly, the two do not plan to come down to meet the Queen amidst the rising fears of the new Omicron variant. An invitation was extended to Harry’s family to join the rest of the royal family, considering this would be their daughter Lilibet’s first Christmas as well. But the family has decided to stay in the US even when it was expected of Harry to be with the Queen this year.