Queen could face double heartbreak in another sad blow after worst year ever

Queen Elizabeth II attends Christmas Day Church service at Church of St Mary Magdalene on December 25, 2017
(Image credit: Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

The Queen could face double heartbreak next month as a poignant anniversary looms after what could be seen to be one of the worst years of her 69-year reign. 

The Queen faced an incredibly difficult time last year as she mourned the loss of Prince Philip in April. His sad passing came a month after The Firm (opens in new tab) were left shocked by the revelations made by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in their Oprah interview (opens in new tab). Whilst in November 2021, the Queen sprained her back and was forced to pull out of several important engagements and occasions. The Queen’s heartbreaking year (opens in new tab) is something some have suggested could make her “stronger”, with Channel 5 documentary 2021: The Queen's Horrible Year reportedly terming last year another ‘annus horribilis’.

Meaning 'horrible year', this was the term the Queen gave to 1992 when three of her children’s marriages ended and a fire broke out at Windsor Castle. Now Her Majesty faces another double heartbreak in a matter of weeks as the anniversary of her father’s death draws nearer.

Princess Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret and King George VI

The Queen’s father, King George VI, passed away at the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk on February 6th 1952. With his death the then-Princess Elizabeth ascended to the throne, though her coronation didn’t actually take place until June 1953. 

Traditionally, the monarch is understood to remember her father privately at Sandringham on the anniversary of his death each year after remaining there following the royal Christmas festivities. However, this already difficult time could be made even more heartbreaking for Her Majesty in 2022 for a very simple reason. 

The Queen hasn’t been to Sandringham since November last year and just weeks ago she cancelled the Royal Family Christmas (opens in new tab) plans at this Norfolk home. Instead, the monarch remained at Windsor Castle where she spent much of 2021, so she is not already at Sandringham ahead of the anniversary. 

Queen Elizabeth II attends the Christmas Day church service at St Mary's Church on December 25, 2008

Her cancellation of Christmas was said to reflect a “precautionary approach” in light of concerns over the Omicron variant (opens in new tab). The UK is currently not in lockdown and the Queen traveling to Sandringham in February wouldn’t be a mass gathering like Christmas would’ve been.

Despite this, Her Majesty could prefer to stay in Berkshire for the time being at least. If the Queen doesn’t end up making the cross-country trip to Norfolk, this means she will not be able to pay tribute to her father at Sandringham as she has done throughout so many years.

Whilst Her Majesty will likely still find her own way of remembering him next month, this would be another heartbreaking moment for her after such a difficult past year.