Two top Royals stay at home as crowds gather for Christmas Day Sandringham church service
PUBLISHED: 10:16 25 December 2018 | UPDATED: 12:07 25 December 2018
Hundreds of well-wishers turned out to see the Royal Family attend the Christmas Day church service on the Sandringham estate - but the Duke of Edinburgh and the Duchess of Cornwall were missing.
Prince Philip and Camilla did not join the rest of the Royals as they made the short walk from the Queen’s Sandringham home to the nearby church of St Mary Magdalene.
It is understood the Duke is in good health and will spend the day relaxing privately with his family.
Camilla missed an appearance at the Olympia Horse Show last week due to a heavy cold and is believed to be still recovering from the bug.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Duke and Duchess of Sussex led the way with the Prince of Wales.
Kate and Meghan walked side by side along the path that led to the church, talking together as they went.
Hundreds of Royal fans braved the chilly conditions to catch a glimpse of members of the monarchy who traditionally spend part of the festive period with the Queen at Sandringham.
Many had brought bouquets of flowers or had got in the Christmas spirit by wearing Santa hats.
MORE - which Royal Family members will be at Sandringham for Christmas
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expected at church.
Meghan walked arm in arm with Harry past the dozens of well-wishers who called out “Merry Christmas” to the royal party as they went by.
Behind the lead group strode Peter Phillips holding the hands of his daughters Savannah and Isla, and they were followed by Princess Beatrice and Peter’s wife Autumn Phillips.
A few metres behind were Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank, who smiled at the crowds as they walked towards the church.
Towards the back of the group were the Earl and Countess of Wessex with their children, Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount Severn, the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence and Zara and Mike Tindall.
The Queen arrived in her state limousine with the Duke of York.
All of the Royals have been staying at Sandringham or nearby Anmer for the traditional festive gathering.
Most arrived on Christmas Eve. The Queen arrived in King’s Lynn by train on Thursday, to oversee preparations including choosing a Christmas tree from the Royal sawmill.
John and Amanda Hensley, both 50 from Diss, were in the queue.
Mr Hensley said: “We’ve been here for at least the last 20 years, since Diana was here.”
Mrs Hensley said: “We want to see everyone, especially the Queen, but all of them. Princess Anne is always really lovely, she’s wished us a merry Christmas and thanked us for coming.”
Rebecca Armson, 38, and Chyna Armson, 18, came from Nuneaton. Mrs Armson said: “We came from Nuneaton, we had to leave at 4:30am. It was frosty and really icy but we’re excited. We’re here to see everyone really, this is our first time and we’re soaking up the atmosphere.
“We’re going back for presents and dinner later on.”
Ian Casswell, 80, from Boston, has been coming for 30 years.
He said: “I keep coming because I like the Royal Family and the atmosphere of the crowds. I’ve seen Diana, the Queen Mother, I like to see all the Royal Family.
“I go to London to all the big events: weddings, funerals, even a garden party at Buckingham Palace. I think the younger Royals are doing really well.”
Julie Kirk, 53, also from Boston, said: “I think the younger Royals are great for the younger generation and they do more behind the scenes for charity etc than we realise. We are privileged to have a monarchy.”