In Pictures: The Royal Family at Sandringham church on Christmas Day

The Queen leaving church after morning service on Christmas Day at Sandringham. Picture: Ian Burt

The Queen leaving church after morning service on Christmas Day at Sandringham. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Hundreds of well-wishers travelled from far and wide to greet the Queen and Royal Family at Sandringham in Norfolk on Christmas Day.

Young and old braved the cold and drizzly weather to cheer and clap the Royals as they passed.

The turnout was perhaps not as big as previous years, thought to be down to the weather and the expectation Prince George and Princess Charlotte would not be present, but the friendly atmosphere did not disappoint.

Leading the way from Sandringham to St Mary Magdalene church was the Duke of Edinburgh with the Princess Royal holding an umbrella, her husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence walked further behind with other members of the family.

Prince of Wales walked alongside the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge, wearing a green coat with a matching hat, was flanked by the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

Also joining the Royal party was the Duke of York with his daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie and the Earl of Wessex with his wife the Countess of Wessex and their children Lady Louise and Viscount Severn.

The Queen, who wore a festive red coat with a fur trim, arrived in a Bentley and was greeted by Rector of Sandringham Canon Jonathan Riviere.

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The 45-minute service at St Mary Magdalene church began with the National Anthem and continued with carols including Angels, from the realms of glory, O little town of Bethlehem, O come, all ye faithful and Hark! The herald angels sing.

The Queen returned swiftly to the car after the service but stopped to wave at the crowd after a man shouted 'Happy Christmas Your Majesty'.

Some members of the Royal Family, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, stayed to exchange warm words with those lining the path back to the house.

Olivia Dodman, seven, from Lancashire, said she shook Prince Harry's hand and he wished her a Merry Christmas.

She added he had just passed her but decided to come back to shake her hand.

'I am never going to wash this hand again,' she said.

Gill Symon and her mother Vicki, both from New Zealand, received festive greetings from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

Ms Symon said: 'They said 'have a lovely day' and said we had gloves on so we must be warm. They told us about the places they had been to in New Zealand.'

Prince Harry also stopped to have a picture with Maureen, the teddy bear mascot for Leonard Cheshire Disability charity, who has been taken all over the world with the organisation.

Manager of the Park House Hotel, a hotel on the Sandringham Estate for disabled people, Tess Guilder said Prince Harry recognised the bear and was pleased to have his picture taken with it.

First to arrive at the gates to Sandringham Park was Dave Warren, of Redhill in Surrey, who arrived at 3.45am.

'I came up here a couple of weeks ago to do a dummy run. Someone said to me 'get here at 4'. I literally took him for his word.'

Keith Broom, of Stalham, had visited the estate on Christmas Day on and off for 20 years with his wife Deanna, he said: 'We think the world of the Royal family. We respect the Queen, she is wonderful.'

Sarah Whitrick, 23, got engaged to her fiancé Brynley Little, 27, last Christmas and, when they enjoyed seeing the Royals at Princess Charlotte's christening, they decided to see them again.

'We shall be inviting the Duke and Duchess to the wedding,' said Mr Little.

The Royals traditionally sit down to a Christmas dinner of Norfolk turkey with all the trimmings before watching the Queen's Speech.

For Erika Fan, from Australia, the highlight of her trip to England was always going to be seeing the Queen at Sandringham.

'She is just so amazing. It is amazing what she has done over the past 60 plus years,' she said.

Dressed in Union Jack colours Yvonne Webb and her daughter Sharon stood out from the crowd.

'We are proud of the Royal Family, we think they do a really good job. We always watch it on the television but it's nothing like being here yourself,' said Sharon Webb.

This year, the Queen focussed on her long reign in her speech to the Commonwealth, saying it had given her the opportunity to dress the Sandringham Christmas tree with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.