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Traditionally, the Royal Family spend Christmas and New Year at Sandringham House. The house requires many staff to keep it running while royals occupy it, but coronavirus measures mean they would have to remain there through the Christmas period in order to maintain a protective ‘bubble’ around the Queen, 94, and Prince Philip, 99.
Royal staff have mutinied over the plans, with as many as 20 of them refusing to go along with it, according to the Sun.
An ‘insider’ told the newspaper the worker action is “absolutely unprecedented” and added: “The Queen is furious.”
They said staff felt as though they had been “pushed too far” by the request to stay in isolation from family members over the Christmas period.
It is not known how the staff’s refusal to work at Sandringham through Christmas will affect the Queen’s plans to spend the winter holiday there, but discussions are ongoing.
If the Queen were forced to stay at Windsor Castle, it would be the first time she would have to do so in over 30 years.
The monarch and Prince Philip travelled down to the Sandringham estate – based in Norfolk – earlier this month having spent their annual summer holiday in their Scottish Balmoral estate.
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The move is only a temporary one, however. Both senior royals will have to move from Sandringham to Windsor Castle in October.
According to reports, Prince Philip would rather have remained at Sandringham, but once again this would have led to problems with staff.
Sources close to the matter claimed there would not have been enough on hand to create two separate anti-coronavirus bubbles to protect both senior royals at the same time.
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Just one of the staff bubbles is made up of around 24 workers, who have to test negative for coronavirus and spend a week in isolation before working a three-week shift.
The Queen will return to Windsor next month in order to carry out her royal duties.
Royals have had a number of plans impacted by the coronavirus pandemic throughout the year.
When the Queen turned 94 in April, there were no gun salutes for the first time in her 68-year rule as the UK remained in the midst of a national lockdown.
Similarly, there was no public Trooping the Colour parade which usually marks the Queen’s official birthday in June.
Instead, the parade was privately held in Windsor Castle in a more scaled-back way.
Royal finances have also taken a hit as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Michael Stevens, keeper of the privy purse, said the taxpayer-funded sovereign grant would suffer a £35 million hit due to the pandemic, according to CNBC.
In addition, the Royal Collection Trust, which is funded by tourism and visitor admissions, is also likely to have been affected in a “significant” way, Mr Stevens said.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently announced tougher national rules to combat increasing coronavirus cases, including the so-called ‘Rule of 6’.
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