Queen 'returns to London leaving Windsor for first time since October'

The Queen, 95 is set to skip her annual Christmas trip to Sandringham – meaning she’ll be apart from William, Kate and her – grandchildren but has left Windsor for the first time since October

  • The Queen reportedly left Windsor for the first time since October last week
  • The monarch, 95, was said to have been seen in London without a walking stick
  • She has been staying in Windsor after multiple health scares in recent weeks
  • It comes as the Royal Family Christmas lunch was scrapped amid Omicron fears

The Queen reportedly left Windsor for the first time since October to make a secret trip to London, after it emerged that she may skip her Christmas trip to Sandringham amid Covid fears.

The 95-year-old monarch reportedly returned to London last week in what is thought to be the first time she left Windsor since spending a night in hospital in October.

The Queen was spotted back on her feet in the capital without a walking stick, according to The Sun.

It comes after the Queen ‘regretfully’ scrapped next week’s traditional Royal Family Christmas lunch and could skip her annual trip to Sandringham amid Omicron fears.

The Queen (pictured on October 16) reportedly returned to London last week in what was thought to be the first time she left Windsor since she spent a night in hospital in October

Speaking about the Queen’s reported visit to London, an onlooker told The Sun: ‘It was great she was out and about and on her feet and looking back to her best.  

‘Hopefully, being on her feet in London is a sign that we will see her back on engagements soon.’

MailOnline has contacted Buckingham Palace for comment. 

The Queen has been on light duties and has been resting at Windsor Castle since spending a night in King Edward VII’s Hospital, West London, on October 20.

Aides said her stay was for ‘preliminary investigations’ and insisted that the tests were purely ‘precautionary’.

Just hours later, she was forced to cancel a two-day trip to Northern Ireland to mark the 100th anniversary of the partition on doctors’ orders.

The Queen is residing in Windsor Castle, where she remains on ‘light duties’ after multiple health scares (pictured: Queen with Sultan of Oman and his wife at Windsor Castle this week) 

It comes after the Queen ‘regretfully’ scrapped next week’s traditional Royal Family Christmas lunch, due to be held at Windsor Castle (pictured), instead of the usual Buckingham Palace 

Earlier that month, the Queen had been forced to use a walking stick in public for the first time at Westminster Abbey.

As she recovered, she was also unable to attend the Cop26 climate change summit in Glasgow in person, instead sending a recorded message, while she also missed Remembrance Sunday commemorations due to a back sprain.

Now, it is understood that she could skip her plans to spent the festive season at Sandringham, forcing the Queen to spend Christmas without some of her nearest and dearest.

After her ‘regretful’ decision to scrap next week’s traditional pre-Christmas dinner for up to 50 family members due to soaring Covid cases, sources told the Daily Mail yesterday that ‘all plans were under consideration’ – including her annual trip to Norfolk.

It means that the 95-year-old – spending her first Yuletide without her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip – could spend a second festive season at Windsor Castle. 

But the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their three children still intend to travel to their Norfolk home for the holidays, and their plans are unlikely to change – meaning the Queen may not be able to join them as planned. 

A final decision is expected to be made early next week as royal aides anxiously monitor government advice.

The Queen is still keen to go to her beloved 20,000-acre estate at Sandringham, where she normally stays until early February – particularly as she spent last year at Windsor alone apart from her late husband and a handful of staff, due to lockdown.

But a second royal source said last night they felt her Norfolk sojourn was ‘increasingly in the balance’ given the fluctuating situation. 

The 95-year-old monarch was planning to welcome 50 or so relatives, including Prince Charles and Camilla (pictured in March 2020), to an event at Windsor Castle next week

‘Her Majesty always leads by example, regardless of her personal preferences,’ they said.

However, as long as the Government does not restrict social mixing, the Queen will not be alone. 

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall plan to join her on Christmas Eve with the Duke of York, Princess Anne and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

It comes after the Queen cancelled her annual Royal Family Christmas lunch on Tuesday ‘with regret’ as a ‘precaution’ to try to save her loved ones festive plans, amid fears over the Omicron Covid variant.

The monarch was planning to welcome 50 or so relatives, including Prince Charles and Camilla, to an event at Windsor Castle next week.

One day after the festive party, the Queen was due to travel by helicopter to Sandringham in Norfolk, where she is set to spend Christmas itself. 

However it has now emerged the Queen ‘with regret’ has cancelled her family lunch as a ‘precautionary’ measure, feeling that too many people’s Christmas arrangements were at risk if it went ahead. 

Royal sources said ‘there is a belief that it is the right thing to do for all concerned’.

It marks the second year the Queen has cancelled the event, usually held at Buckingham Palace.

Last year, she called off the lunch when tougher restrictions were brought in amid the surge of the Delta Covid strain. 

It comes as millions of Britons axed their festive plans so they can see family on Christmas Day after Boris Johnson and Chris Whitty triggered a ‘tsunamis of cancellations’ for pubs and restaurants by urging the country only to socialise if necessary – and not in large groups or with strangers. 

Ahead of the announcement, royal expert Camilla Tominey appeared on This Morning today, and told viewers the monarch was considering leaving it ‘up to guests’ over whether they attend. 

She said: ‘We thought the Queen was going to have a Christmas party for the extended family in Windsor on Tuesday, we think that’s still going ahead. 

‘Then she’s going to go to Sandringham for the traditional celebrations in Norfolk.’

‘But apparently now they’re wavering, like we all are. Maybe it’s going to be about the guests and if people don’t feel comfortable coming,  that makes the decision for you.’ 

This year’s event would have seen the family brought together in the largest reunion since the Duke of Edinburgh’s death in April. 

While three of her four new grandchildren – August, Lucas and Siena – had been expected to attend the lunch, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and their son Archie and newborn Lilibet, also born this year, will remain in the US.

An ITV film crew recorded the Queen’s Christmas Day address several weeks ago. 

The Mail reported last week that palace aides were also exploring options for the monarch to appear in public in the run up to December 25 to wish the country a very happy Christmas.

Although photographs and videos have been released by Buckingham Palace of the sovereign undertaking in-person and virtual audiences with foreign ambassadors, dignitaries and the Prime Minister, all meetings have taken place behind palace walls.

The hope is that the Queen will be well enough to take part in a short public engagement in the castle grounds.

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