Queen plans emotional pilgrimage to Philip’s cottage sanctuary for first time since death

The 95-year-old monarch has decided to privately remember both her husband and her father by making an emotional pilgrimage to the Duke’s woodland bolthole for the first time since his death. Prince Philip, died on April 9 last year aged 99.

Sandringham is the much-loved country retreat of Her Majesty, and has been the private home of four generations of British monarchs since 1862.

While The Queen normally spends Christmas at Sandringham, she has remained at Windsor Castle since the autumn due to the ongoing COVID 19 restrictions.

Even this year, she held muted celebrations with close family, including the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

Speaking from Windsor Castle, with a picture of the Duke of Edinburgh on her desk, the Queen gave her Christmas speech.

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She said: “Although it’s a time of great happiness and good cheer for many, Christmas can be hard for those who have lost loved ones.

“This year, especially, I understand why.

“But for me, in the months since the death of my beloved Philip, I have drawn great comfort from the warmth and affection of the many tributes to his life and work – from around the country, the Commonwealth and the world.”

The Mail on Sunday reported the Queen will make a special pilgrimage to Sandringham in the coming days in preparation for the anniversary of her father’s death, and her accession to the Throne.

Her father, King George VI, died at Sandringham aged 56.

The publication stated that rather than over Zoom, the Queen will record a TV address to the nation to mark when she will have spent 70 years on the Throne from Sandringham.

According to the news report, there will also be plenty of fond memories of ‘we four’, as the Queen’s father used to refer to his happy nuclear family – himself, his wife (the Queen Mother), Elizabeth and her sister Margaret at Sandringham.

On her 2015 wedding anniversary, the Queen released a moving letter written by her ‘Papa’ shortly after her wedding to Philip in 1949, in which the King wrote that he had watched her “grow up all these years with pride”.

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Similarly, the Queen has spent time looking back to see how her father handled events as monarch.

In 2020, on the anniversary of VE Day, the Queen gave a national broadcast recalling her father’s address to the nation 75 years earlier.

And last year, on Father’s Day, a black and white photograph was released showing her standing by her father and Philip in Balmoral as they watched a young Prince Charles sitting on a statue in 1951.

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