Queen Elizabeth’s traditional Christmas lunch has been canceled.
The reigning monarch was hoping to host her extended family for the annual get-together next week after last year’s festivities were called off due to coronavirus restrictions. However, a source revealed on Thursday that this year’s get-together was also axed.“The decision is a precautionary one as it is felt to put too many people’s Christmas arrangements at risk if it went ahead,” a source told Fox News. “While there is regret that it is canceled, there is a belief it is the right thing to do for all concerned.”
Buckingham Palace wouldn’t comment. But as COVID rates continue to rise in the U.K., government advisers have recommended scaling back pre-holiday gatherings.
The gathering typically takes place at Buckingham Palace. It includes dozens of people in attendance, as well as children. However, this year’s party was supposed to occur at Windsor Castle where the 95-year-old has been residing amid the pandemic. It’s also noted that this is the first holiday season that the queen won’t have her husband of 73 years by her side. Prince Philip passed away in April at age 99.It is believed Elizabeth will still travel to Sandringham Estate in Norfolk for Christmas, an annual tradition for the royal family. Other royals are expected to also make the trip unless the U.K. government mandates change amid the COVID surge.
Every year, members of the royal family spend the holidays with the queen at the estate and open their presents on Christmas Eve. Then on Christmas Day, they attend church services at St. Mary’s Magdalene Church. Afterward, they head back to Sandringham for lunch and other festivities.
Sources have said the family was looking forward to the gathering as the queen suffered some health setbacks this year.
Elizabeth was recently seen using a cane at a Westminster Abbey service marking the centenary of the Royal British Legion, an armed forces charity. She was previously photographed using a cane in 2003, although that was after she underwent knee surgery.
Elizabeth’s daughter, Princess Anne, handed her the mobility device after they both stepped out of a limousine for the service in central London. The queen smiled and appeared to move freely as she walked to her seat in the church.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment.
In November, the palace disclosed that Elizabeth sprained her back and will therefore be unable to attend a ceremony at London’s Cenotaph memorial to honor service members who sacrificed their lives for the United Kingdom.
“The Queen, having sprained her back, has decided this morning with great regret that she will not be able to attend today’s Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph,” the statement read. “Her Majesty is disappointed that she will miss the service.”
When asked about his mother, Charles, 73, revealed that “she’s all right.”
Fox News’ Melissa Roberto and The Associated Press contributed to this report.