Picture special: Royal family members arrive at Sandringham Church for Christmas service as heavy cold keeps the Queen at home

Royal-watchers waiting outside St Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk. PHOTO

Royal-watchers waiting outside St Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk. PHOTO: Chris Radburn/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The Queen will miss the annual Christmas Day church service at Sandringham with her family as she is still recovering from a heavy cold, Buckingham Palace has said.

The Queen was unable to attend church at Sandringham today. PHOTO: Yui Mok/PA Wire

The Queen was unable to attend church at Sandringham today. PHOTO: Yui Mok/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Crowds of royal-watchers gathered outside the church to see the Queen and other members of the royal family arrive for the traditional festive service.

But a lingering cold forced the Queen to remain at Sandringham House.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh had delayed their trip to the private Sandringham estate by a day after they both became ill.

But they were well enough to travel from Buckingham Palace by helicopter to the Queen's home on Thursday.

Prince Harry arrives to attend the morning Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church on the

Prince Harry arrives to attend the morning Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 25, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Christmas. Photo credit should read: Chris Radburn/PA Wire - Credit: PA


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A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: 'Her Majesty the Queen will not attend church at Sandringham this morning.

'The Queen continues to recover from a heavy cold and will stay indoors to assist with her recovery. Her Majesty will participate in the royal family Christmas celebrations during the day.'

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(lLeft-right front ) The Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke of Edinburgh, (left-righ

(lLeft-right front ) The Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke of Edinburgh, (left-right back) The Earl of Wessex, Lady Louise Windsor and the Countess of Wessex arrive to attend the morning Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 25, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Christmas. Photo credit should read: Chris Radburn/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Members of the public wait to see the royal family arrive to attend the morning Christmas Day servic

Members of the public wait to see the royal family arrive to attend the morning Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 25, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Christmas. Photo credit should read: Chris Radburn/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The Duke of Edinburgh leaves following the morning Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church

The Duke of Edinburgh leaves following the morning Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 25, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Christmas. Photo credit should read: Chris Radburn/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The public attend to see the royals at the morning Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church

The public attend to see the royals at the morning Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 25, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Christmas. Photo credit should read: Chris Radburn/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte arrive to attend the morning

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte arrive to attend the morning Christmas Day service at St Mark's Church in Englefield, Berkshire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 25, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Christmas. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The Duke of Cambridge and Prince George arrive to attend the morning Christmas Day service at St Mar

The Duke of Cambridge and Prince George arrive to attend the morning Christmas Day service at St Mark's Church in Englefield, Berkshire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 25, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Christmas. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire - Credit: PA

(Left-right) Michael Middleton, James Matthews, James Middleton, Pippa Middleton and Carole Middleto

(Left-right) Michael Middleton, James Matthews, James Middleton, Pippa Middleton and Carole Middleton arrive to attend the morning Christmas Day service at St Mark's Church in Englefield, Berkshire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 25, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Christmas. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire - Credit: PA

GENERIC CAPTION The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive to attend the morning Christmas Day service

GENERIC CAPTION The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive to attend the morning Christmas Day service at St Mark's Church in Englefield, Berkshire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 25, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Christmas. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire - Credit: PA

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