Hundreds greet the Queen and Prince Philip as they attend church service in Sandringham

The sight of the Queen dressed in a vibrant red coat and hat brightened up a cold winter's morning for well-wishers who gathered to see her attend a service at Sandringham Church this morning.

Around 200 people lined the road leading to the church on the Royal Estate to catch a glimpse of the reigning monarch who arrived by car with her cousin Lady Mary Colman just before 11am.

The small crowd had already seen the Duke of Edinburgh lead a group of nine people, including Princess Anne and Vice-Admiral Timothy Laurence, who walked from Sandringham House to St Mary Magdalene Church for the service.

Britain's second-longest reigning monarch appeared in good spirits following the service as she waved to the crowd and collected flowers from 17 children.

Among the children presenting the Queen with flowers was six-year-old Madeline Flaxman, from South Wootton, near King's Lynn, who was watched by her excited mum Sandra and sister Rachel, 15.

Mrs Flaxman said: 'We came at the same time last year to see the Queen. It's nicer coming at this time of year because there are fewer people and it feels more intimate.

'Madeline had been practising her curtsey all morning and she was very excited to meet the Queen.'

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Meanwhile Prince Philip was seen talking to members of the crowd, including royal watcher Mary Relph, as he made his way back to Sandringham House.

Next week marks the 60th anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne and a large crowd is expected in West Newton next Sunday when she arrives for a church service at 11am.

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