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Queen attends Sunday service at Sandringham which begins their Christmas festivities

PUBLISHED: 16:27 23 December 2018 | UPDATED: 12:09 24 December 2018

The Earl of Wessex and his daughter Lady Louise Windsor leave after attending the morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 23, 2018. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

The Earl of Wessex and his daughter Lady Louise Windsor leave after attending the morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 23, 2018. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

The Queen and members of the royal family braved the December weather to attend a Sunday service at the Sandringham Estate.

Countess of Wessex leaves after attending the morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 23, 2018. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA WireCountess of Wessex leaves after attending the morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 23, 2018. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

The service at St Mary Magdalene Church begins the family’s Christmas festivities and was witnessed by hundreds of well-wishers huddled under umbrellas.

The Queen, dressed in a red and grey tweed coat with matching hat, held a red trimmed umbrella herself as she made her way from the car for the short journey to the church.

Queen Elizabeth II leaves after attending the morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 23, 2018. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA WireQueen Elizabeth II leaves after attending the morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 23, 2018. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Prince Phillip wasn’t in attendance - the palace declined to comment on why - but their son Prince Edward was present, along with his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and daughter Lady Louise Windsor.

Getting out of the car in the rain, Prince Edward joked to the crowd that they were “crazy” to be here in this weather, to which Ian Roper, who was in the crowd, said: “We’re here to see you sir.”

Police search well wishers before they view Queen Elizabeth II attending the morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 23, 2018. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire Police search well wishers before they view Queen Elizabeth II attending the morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 23, 2018. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

The Earl of Wessex said “oh really?” and laughed along with the crowd.

Mr Roper, 52 from Sheringham, said he couldn’t believe the prince spoke back to him.

Police search well wishers before they view Queen Elizabeth II attending the morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 23, 2018. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire Police search well wishers before they view Queen Elizabeth II attending the morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 23, 2018. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

“He just laughed, it was great,” Mr Roper added. “It’s my second year being here and I think it’s brilliant how upheld the royal family still are, even today, in this horrible weather people have come to see them.”

People have travelled from all over the country to get a glimpse of the Queen.

Jane Blackburn, 49, and her daughter Lucy, 18, left their home in Milton Keynes at 8am to get to Norfolk in time to see the Queen.

“We’re excited and have a really good spot,” she said. “We were disappointed at first to learn we couldn’t take pictures, but after the policemen explained it was due to privacy at this service we understood.”

When the 45-minute service had ended and the Queen left, Mrs Blackburn said seeing her was everything she wanted it to be.

“We waved at her and she smiled back, it’s been lovely.”

The rest of the Royal Family will be joining the Queen at Sandringham tomorrow, ahead of the celebrations on Christmas Day.

READ MORE: Which Royal Family members are coming to Sandringham for Christmas?

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