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Photo gallery: Queen is happy to be home in Norfolk for Christmas

PUBLISHED: 10:45 19 December 2014 | UPDATED: 10:49 19 December 2014

The Queen arrives at King's Lynn Train Station for her Christmas break at Sandringham, with her is station manager Graeme Pratt. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The Queen arrives at King's Lynn Train Station for her Christmas break at Sandringham, with her is station manager Graeme Pratt. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2014

You could tell by the smile how much she’s looking forward to Christmas, as she stepped off the train from King’s Cross – the most famous woman in the world side-by-side with ordinary passengers.

Her thoughts would almost certainly have been on all the final preparations for the big day – not to mention her great grandson Prince George’s second Christmas. Over the next week the Queen will oversee the finishing touches at Sandringham, as she gets ready to welcome her family for the one day of the year when they are usually all together.

This year, the 88-year-old monarch has another royal arrival to look forward to, with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge expecting their second child in April. Over Christmas Prince George, now a strapping toddler, is likely to take some upstaging – even by the Queen’s other great grandchildren. Thousands will hope for a glimpse of the 17-month-old eventual heir to the throne on Christmas Day, when William and Kate join the Royal Family for the traditional church service. It remains to be seen whether they’ll bring George.

It will also be the first Christmas for the Queen’s youngest great-grandchild, Mia Tindall.

The Queen, wearing an eau de nil checked coat and co-ordinating turquoise patterned headscarf, joined passengers on board the 10.45 Great Northern Thameslink train from London King’s Cross.

She is believed to have bought a £53.60 first class single ticket for the one hour 40-minute journey to King’s Lynn, where a Range Rover was waiting to take her the final 10 miles to her estate at Sandringham.

Fellow passenger Francis Sparrow said: “It was amazing, I had no idea she was on the train. What a wonderful surprise.”

Another passenger, who did not want to be named said: “I did not know she was on the train until I got off and saw her walking beside me. It was just wonderful. It’s brilliant to see her using public transport too.”

Officials reserved the first class compartment of the train for the Queen and her close protection officers for the 100-mile journey to Lynn.

While passengers on the Norwich to London line faced cancelled trains and delays caused by signalling problems, services on the Fen Line via Cambridge were running on time.

After arriving in Lynn, the Queen left the platform via a side entrance – which was renamed the Queen’s Gate when the station was given a period refurbishment two years ago.

Station manager Graeme Pratt said he was very pleased to have the Queen on board.

He said: “It was good to have Her Majesty on board and we are pleased that she enjoyed the journey. It is an absolute privilege to transport the Royal Family, especially Her Majesty.”

One man who saw her being driven off in the vehicle, decided to miss his train to Downham Market so he could get a glimpse of the monarch for the first time.

Liam Baker, 34, said: “She waved as she was driven by – it has really made my Christmas. I’m made up. I have always wanted to see her.

“It was amazing, it was so nice to see her. I couldn’t see anything in the station so I went and stood in the car park. I had a really good view. It was worth missing my train for.”

The Duke of Edinburgh is believed to have already travelled to Sandringham. Most Royal Family members arrive in Norfolk on Christmas Eve.

Were you on the same train as the Queen? Email natalie.copeland@archant.co.uk

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