Queen and Duke’s last church appearance at Sandringham before they return to London
- Credit: IAN BURT
Crowds waited in blustery conditions to greet the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh as they attended church on the Sandringham Estate for the last time before their return to London.
To hushed silence, the 87-year-old Monarch smiled and waved to well-wishers, as she arrived by Bentley from nearby Sandringham House for the service, wearing a pale duck egg blue outfit with a hat and coat.
A sprightly Duke of Edinburgh walked the short distance from the house to the Church of St Mary Magdalene.
About 45 minutes later, the couple emerged from the church, again to a very quiet crowd, with the Queen once more being driven back to the house.
Police officers collected flowers and gifts on her behalf.
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Members of the crowd wished the Duke 'good morning' as he again walked back to the house.
Yesterday's service was conducted by the Revd Jonathan Riviere, Rector of Sandringham.
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Onlookers included a coach party of Americans from RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk which included military wives Amy Feightner, who was with her daughter Julianne, three, and Donata Smalley, who was accompanied by her child, Milly-Joana, 16 months.
Mrs Feightner said: 'We brought flowers with us to give to the Queen.
'We are heading back to the States in May. The girls were born in this country and we thought it would be nice to see the Queen and tell people about it when we get home.'
Alan Mowton, from Fosdyke, near Boston in Lincolnshire, has been coming to Sandringham to see the Queen for 35 consecutive years.
He was visiting with wife Hazel Mowton and said: 'I think she recognises me. We used to have a long-haired miniature dachshund, which died last year. The Queen used to recognise the dog.
'It's become a tradition for us to visit the Queen at the church. It's nice to come into the Sandringham Estate, and nice to see Her Majesty and the Royal Family.'
Gillian Keen came with her family from Steeple Bumpstead, on the Suffolk/Essex border.
She said: 'I've seen her dozens of times, and I'm very fond of her. She's just like part of our own family, as I've seen her so often. She's so normal. And the Duke looks very sprightly for his age.'