The Queen’s decision to spend a quiet December 25 with the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor sends a clear message to the nation that it is OK to miss Christmas with your family this year, a royal expert has said.
Penny Junor said the monarch and her consort were being “very sensible” and showing “real leadership” about what is the right thing to do during the pandemic.
She added that it was “rather lovely” that the Queen, 94, and 99-year-old Philip, who have been married for 73 years, would be spending the Christmas celebrations together.
Royal author Ms Junor said: “I think it’s very, very sensible.
“I think families at the moment are absolutely torn about what they do at Christmas because the Government has told us that we can go out and meet two other households and socialise with two other households.
“The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are both clinically vulnerable because of their age.
“I think that is showing real leadership in doing the right thing.
“If getting together at Christmas is going to put elderly people and vulnerable people in danger, probably it’s better to postpone it until we’re all safer.
“I would guess that is what they are doing is sending a message, a clear message to people that it’s alright to miss this Christmas in the hope of having other Christmases to spend with much-loved family.”
Under a relaxation of the coronavirus rules, three households can mix from December 23 to 27, but the bubble must be exclusive over the five-day period, meaning people cannot shift from one group to another.
The Queen and the duke, however, have a large family of four children and eight grandchildren, who are all nearly grown up, along with eight great-grandchildren.
Ms Junor added that Christmas was a special time for the monarch and Philip and that it was “sweet” that the pair would be together.
“It’s rather lovely. They are both very Christian and Christmas has real meaning for them. I mean it’s a big sacrifice for them but I think it’s sweet and sends a good message,” she said.
The Queen and the duke may see some members of their family briefly in accordance with guidelines, but Christmas celebrations are likely to involve just the couple.
Princess Elizabeth married Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, who was given the title the Duke of Edinburgh, in Westminster Abbey on November 20 1947.
The duke has devoted his married life to supporting his wife, and gave up his successful naval career to be by her side ahead of her becoming the sovereign.
He retired from official duties in 2017 and, until the coronavirus outbreak, had been spending much of his retirement at his cottage, Wood Farm, in the sanctuary of the Sandringham estate, more than 100 miles away from the Queen, who was usually at Buckingham Palace or at Windsor.
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh look at an anniversary card made by Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, alongside other cards and letters sent by well-wishers to celebrate their 73rd wedding anniversary tomorrow.— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) November 19, 2020
📸 Chris Jackson/Getty images pic.twitter.com/RQzDWAwHSU
But they were reunited at Windsor in Berkshire in March for their safety ahead of lockdown, and were back there for lockdown 2.0 in November.
They are being looked after by a reduced household of staff dubbed HMS Bubble.
The Queen and Philip passed the rare, personal milestone of 70 years of marriage – their platinum wedding anniversary – in 2017.
They marked their 73rd wedding anniversary just under a fortnight ago when they were pictured opening a colourful celebratory card from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children.