Members of the Royal Family including Queen Elizabeth II and new addition Meghan, Duchess of Sussex were cheered on by a crowd of well-wishers as they arrived for a Christmas day Church service in Sandringham, Norfolk.
The Royal Family traditionally spend Christmas in Sandringham, the private home of the Queen and not a Royal palace like the better known Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. A crowd of 4,000 turned out to cheer and applaud as the Royals arrived for Church on Christmas morning, reports the Daily Telegraph.
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Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh was absent from the service, following his official retirement from public life in 2017. While he has frequently been seen at the Queen’s side since the official relinquishment of duties, he has given up his patronage of many charities and, while in good health, was said to be spending the day relaxing.
Also absent was Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall who is recovering from a cold.
Greeting the crowds of well-wishers were the younger Royals including American actress Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex who married Prince Harry at a ceremony in Windsor, England in 2018. After the Church service, the Royals returned to Sandringham lunch for Christmas lunch and the exchanging of gifts.
The pre-recorded Christmas message, broadcast every Christmas day by the British monarch since 1932 when the Queen’s grandfather started the tradition is to go on air at 1500 GMT. Pre-recorded in early December, the speech by the Queen is one of the only occasions where the Queen is able to speak publicly on subjects of her choosing, and with a speech she has written herself.
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Owing to the evolution of the British constitutional monarchy, the Queen’s public comments are generally written for her otherwise by politicians or aides. As well as being constitutional monarch of the United Kingdom the Queen also reigns over Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and 12 other Commonwealth Realms.
The Queen is reported to be using her message this year to emphasise the importance of Christianity in everyday life and will urge listeners to treat one another with respect and common decency, a theme which Britain’s media has interpreted as being an appeal on the eve of 2019 which will see the United Kingdom leave the European Union.