Which Royal Family members will be coming to Norfolk for Christmas?
PUBLISHED: 06:12 16 December 2019 | UPDATED: 14:00 16 December 2019
PAUL JOHN BAYFIELD
Who isn't coming to Norfolk to spend Christmas with the Queen looks set to be bigger news than who is for the first time in a few years.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were the first to break ranks, saying they planned to spend time with Meghan's Mum, instead of joining the rest of the Firm at Sandringham.
Any controversy over their decision was soon overshadowed by the A-word, as in would Prince Andrew shrug off the swirl of allegations which have engulfed him and walk to church with the rest of the family on Christmas morning.
Oh yes he will, chorused just about every media outlet you can think of 10 days ago, followed by an equally unanimous oh no he won't reverse ferret two days later.
The Palace said it couldn't comment on who might or might not be joining Her Majesty and the rest of her clan for their festive gathering.
Could anyone who has the Queen's ear on such matters really argue that Andrew's presence would not overshadow the entire day including her Christmas Speech?
What if protestors join the throng outside church in front of the church as the world's media gather to cover Christmas Day, when lack of much else happening usually guarantees the Royals blanket coverage.
Surely if he does attend, he'll remain in the house, away from the microphones and cameras.
If daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie attend, as they usually do, it might be seen in some quarters as a gesture of solidarity for their father.
While the 93-year-old Queen is a racing cert to attend, the Duke of Edinburgh, now 98, is seldom seen since he has gone into retirement at a cottage on the estate. Said to be becoming a little frail, he may well decide not to brave the cold for the walk to church.
Other givens include Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, along with Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge. Will Prince George, now six, be joining them?
The Laurences and Wessexes will also be attending the service, along with their extended families.