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Queen Elizabeth to miss Christmas church service for first time in nearly 30 years

The UK’s monarch is suffering from a cold.

The British royal family exchange gifts on Christmas Eve.
The British royal family exchange gifts on Christmas Eve.
Image: Twitter/Buckingham Palace

BRITAIN’S QUEEN ELIZABETH II is to miss the Christmas Day church service attended by the British royal family as she continues to suffer from a heavy cold, Buckingham Palace said Sunday.

The 90-year-old, who is the supreme governor of the Church of England, will join in the family festivities later in the day, a spokesman said.

It is the first time since 1988 that the monarch has missed the traditional service.

The royal family traditionally spends Christmas together at her Sandringham private estate in Norfolk, eastern England.

By custom they walk together to and from church, a rare occasion for the public to meet several members of the royal family.

“Her Majesty The Queen will not attend church at Sandringham this morning,” a palace spokesman said.

The Queen continues to recover from a heavy cold and will stay indoors to assist with her recovery. Her Majesty will participate in the royal family Christmas celebrations during the day.

The monarch and her 95-year-old husband Prince Philip delayed their departure from London to Sandringham from Wednesday to Thursday as they were both suffering from heavy colds.

In her pre-recorded Christmas Day broadcast to the Commonwealth, the queen will pay tribute to inspirational unsung heroes, focusing on “ordinary people doing extraordinary things”, according to the text of her annual speech.

The royals exchange gifts on Christmas Eve and the queen leaves the room when her message comes on the television, preferring to watch it alone.

© – AFP 2016 with reporting by Rónán Duffy

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