As the Queen and members of the Royal Family prepare for their Christmas break at Sandringham in Norfolk, some wonder whether there’ll be enough room
Inviting record numbers of family members to stay at her Norfolk retreat has caused the queen some headaches when it comes to accommodating them, it was claimed today.
Buckingham palace declined to comment on claims that some Royals would be staying in servants' quarters over the Christmas weekend.
'It's not the sort of thing we'd comment on,' one Royal aide said.
Almost 30 members of the Royal Family are expected to arrive in Norfolk over the next few days.
They are tipped to include newlyweds the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with Zara Phillips and her husband Mike Tindall.
Other guests will include Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke of York, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, and the Priness Royal and her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence.
Younger members of the party are expected to include Prince Harry, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, Lady Louise and Viscount Severn.
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Also present will be Peter Phillips, his wife Autumn and their daughter Savannah - whose name was first revealed at a service on the estate last Christmas, when the then new-born baby was mentioned in prayers.
Also expected are Viscount Linley, son of the late Princess Margaret, his wife Serena and children the Honourable Charles and Margarita Armstrong-Jones.
His sister Lady Sarah Chatto, her husband Daniel and children Samuel and Arthur Chatto are also understood to be coming to Norfolk.
The Queen is normally the first to arrive at Sandringham, to supervise preparations for Christmas. In recent years, she has caught the train from King's Cross to King's Lynn.
Members of the Royal Family traditionally open their presents on Christmas Eve and delight in seeing who can devise the cheapest or most amusing gift.
On Christmas Day, thousands are expected to gather outside the church of St Mary Magdalene near Sandringham House, where crowds traditionally greet the Queen and other members of the Royal Family before and after Christmas Day service.
Last year several family members did not attend the service.
They included Prince William, who spent Christmas Day on duty at RAF Valley, while his future wife Kate Middleton spent Christmas with her family in Berkshire.
Zara Phillips, who had just announced her engagement to rugby player Mike Tindall, spent Christmas Day with her fiance at the couple's home in Gloucester.
Also missing were Peter Phillips - 11th in line to the throne - and his wife Autumn, who were expecting a baby, the Princess Royal and Vice-Admiral Tim Laurence.
Savannah Phillips - the Queen's first great-grandchild was born on December 29 at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
Members of the Royal Family have been spending Christmas on the 20,000-acre Sandringham Estate since 1988, when the seasonal gathering returned there after a break of 25 years because Windsor Castle was being re-wired.