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British Royal Family

For the first time in more than three decades, the Queen and Prince Philip will not be travelling to Sandringham for Christmas this year

The royals' traditional walkabout and photo call outside church will look a little different this year.

By Jess Pullar
On December 25, you can usually be sure of several things. The BBQ will be sizzling with prawns, the oven will be filled to the brim with roast potatoes... and juuust as we think about rolling our stuffed and drowsy selves to bed, we catch a glimpse of the British royals leaving their Christmas Day service.
Well, that was until 2020 had other ideas for the world.
Yes, COVID-19 has thrown a disproportionately sized spanner in the works, leaving many families with the task of altering usual Christmas traditions in order to stay within current WHO health recommendations.
That includes the royal family.
For the last 32 years, we've watched the British royals attend their usual Christmas morning mass at Sandringham, later leaving the church to greet a bunch of brave well wishes who wait patiently in the cold to catch an in-person glimpse of the regal fold.
While in recent years, Prince Philip hasn't been present due to his ever-growing age, the Queen is a guaranteed stalwart at the prized event.
But things are going to look a little different this year.
In a statement released by Buckingham Palace overnight, it has been confirmed that both the Queen and Prince Philip will not be going to Sandringham.
Usually, royal fans catch a glimpse of The Queen at Sandringham every Christmas. (Getty)
"Having considered all the appropriate advice, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have decided that this year they will spend Christmas quietly in Windsor," a Palace spokesperson confirmed.
This likely means we may also not see some of the other members of the royal family if they too choose to remain in their preferred lockdown residence - especially if the UK continues to battle soaring COVID cases.
It's been a royal tradition, but this year, Christmas will look a little different. (Getty)
The news shouldn't come as too much of a surprise by now - 2020 has certainly given us a slight buffer in expecting the unexpected.
For the second year in a row, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will also miss out on spending Christmas with the British family.
The pair moved to California as the world began to go into its first lockdown in March.
As cases continue to surge in the US, it seems impossible to expect that they would fly to the UK within the next four weeks.
Prince William and Duchess Catherine will likely spend Christmas either at their country residence in Norfolk, where they hunkered down for the majority of the first lockdown.
Or, there's a chance the family may spend the day with Kate's family in Buckleberry.
Essentially, there's a lot of unknowns for the royals, and all of us - but as The Queen has exemplified, what's most important is putting safety first.
And hopefully Christmas 2021 will be a little smoother...

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