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The Queen’s youngest son Prince Edward, 56, and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, 55, usually spend Christmas at Sandringham with the rest of the Royal Family. However, this year the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to put an end to their traditional plans.
The Queen and Prince Philip usually welcome extended Royal Family members at Sandringham House from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day but the large gathering is highly unlikely to go ahead amid the pandemic.
England is due to remain in lockdown until December 2 and is still not clear what restrictions may remain in place after that date.
It seems highly likely there will still be a limit on the number of people allowed to gather indoors which could wreak havoc with Britons’ Christmas plans.
If a ban on more than six people mixing at anyone one time is reinstated then the royals’ Christmas options may be limited.
Where will Sophie Wessex and Edward spend Christmas?
Sophie and Edward live at Bagshot Park in Surrey with their two children Lady Louise Windsor, 16, and James, Viscount Severn, 12.
Lady Louise and James are said to be favourites of the Queen and were the first grandchildren to visit her at Balmoral in the summer.
Given the pandemic, it seems highly likely Edward and Sophie will choose to mark Christmas at home in Surrey with their two children.
However, as a family of four, the Wessexes may be able to join up with one other couple is the rule of six comes back into force.
The Queen and Prince Philip are both in their nineties and are at high risk from the virus.
But there is still a small chance they could choose to mark Christmas with family and Sophie and Edward might be the most likely guests with their two children.
Christmas lunch and Sandringham is not the only royal tradition at risk this year.
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The royals usually attend the Christmas Day church service together at King’s Lynn but the symbolic outing won’t take place this year.
There is also a chance that the Queen and Philip will remain at Windsor Castle for Christmas rather than travelling to Sandringham as they already have a tight team of staff in place at their current royal residence.
Despite the Queen having a tumultuous year amid the pandemic there has been an unlikely upside to the crisis.
The Queen has been able to spend more time with her husband Prince Philip than she has in years as they have lived together throughout to lockdowns.
Since his retirement in 2017, Prince Philip made Wood Farm in Sandringham his main base away from the royal bubble.
But the Queen and the Duke were reunited at Windsor ahead of the first lockdown and have mostly been in one another’s company ever since.
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told Express.co.uk: “The relationship between the Queen and Prince Philip is one of the great royal romances.
“On Friday they celebrate their 73rd wedding anniversary.
“They can look back on a year of turmoil as the world has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic but also one in which they have been able to spend a good deal of time together which has been a great bonus.”
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