Princess Anne says Queen getting “better”, despire being too ill to attend Sandringham service today

The Earl of Wessex (centre) leaves St Mary Magdalene Church. Photo credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

The Earl of Wessex (centre) leaves St Mary Magdalene Church. Photo credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The Queen was too ill to attend the traditional New Year's Day church service at Sandringham today- but her daughter, Princess Anne said she was getting 'better'.

The Duke of Edinburgh leaves St Mary Magdalene Church. Photo credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

The Duke of Edinburgh leaves St Mary Magdalene Church. Photo credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Buckingham Palace said this morning that Her Majesty was 'still recuperating' from the heavy cold she developed before Christmas and had decided not to attend the event at St Mary Magdalene church.

But the Duke of Edinburgh, recovered from his own cold, was well enough to attend the ceremony, led by the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, with other members of the Royal Family.

The Duke was driven in a Range Rover to the ceremony with Sophie, Countess of Wessex, while other members of the family walked the short distance from Sandringham House to the church.

Among them were Prince Edward, Lady Louise Windsor and Princess Anne, who replied to well-wishers and members of the press inquiring about the Queen's health that she was getting 'better'.

The Duke of Edinburgh leaves St Mary Magdalene Church. Photo credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

The Duke of Edinburgh leaves St Mary Magdalene Church. Photo credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire - Credit: PA


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About 250 people gathered near the church, despite the wet and blustery conditions.

Royal watcher Mary Relph said: 'It's sad that the Queen is not here, but she has done the wisest thing staying in the warm.'

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Among the well-wishers were Lynn Willert and Chris Addison, from Lowestoft, who said: 'We have always wanted to come here, and it's been on our bucket list. Obviously, it's disappointing that the Queen has not been able to attend the service, but we're still glad we came.'

Pippa May, from Congham, said: 'It would have been nice to see the Queen, but we have not had to come far.'

Mick and Lyn Tozer, who are staying at a caravan club in the area, said: 'We've been here about five times. It's pretty unique, as it's the closest you can get to the Royal Family.'

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh had been due to travel to their Norfolk estate by train, and they were expected to arrive at King's Lynn station. But their illnesses forced them to travel by helicopter.

The Queen missed the Christmas Day service at the estate for the first time for 28 years.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: 'The Queen does not yet feel ready to attend church as she is still recuperating from a heavy cold.'

The monarch, who turned 90 this year, has not been seen in public since before Christmas.

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