Why Christmas could mark a more long-term move for the Queen

Queen Elizabeth II arrives at King's Lynn railway station to begin her Christmas break
(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

The Queen is expected to travel to her Norfolk country home for Christmas but her stay at Sandringham could be extended for a heartbreaking reason.

The Queen is preparing to mark her first Christmas since losing her beloved “strength and stay” Prince Philip earlier this year. Despite her recent health woes, Her Majesty is said to be “totally committed” to the tradition of hosting The Firm at Sandringham in Norfolk. It’s here that the family can relax and spend time together away from the royal spotlight. From the delicious food the royals eat on Christmas Day to attending church together, the monarch will no doubt enjoy spending this poignant time with her nearest and dearest. 

Having already flown to Sandringham via helicopter in November, the Queen could leave Windsor Castle within weeks ready for Christmas. And this year the Queen could potentially extend her move to Norfolk for a little longer for a truly heartbreaking reason. 

Queen Elizabeth II departs after the Royal Family's traditional Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church

PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

The Queen traditionally stays at Sandringham House in Norfolk until February after hosting her many children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren for the festive season. This is understood to be because the monarch wishes to remember her late father in private on the anniversary of his death on February 6th each year. 

It is honour of him that the Christmas decorations are said to remain in place until February, despite this often being considered bad luck. King George VI passed away at Sandringham House in 1952  when the Queen was just 25.

And whilst the monarch might usually stay in Norfolk to reflect on her father's life and legacy, he's not the only one she'll be thinking of this year. 

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive at King's Lynn station ready for Christmas at Sandringham

The Queen and Prince Philip were married for 73 years before he passed away and 2021 marks the first Christmas since his death.  Since the Duke of Edinburgh retired from public duties, he spent most of his time living on the Sandringham estate.

As a result, it’s thought that Sandringham holds many memories of him for the Queen, something expressed by royal expert Duncan Larcombe. 

Opening up to OK! magazine, he previously declared, “Sandringham was Philip’s favourite residence by some distance and he would have liked to have lived there all the time if he could have, so you can imagine that the Queen takes comfort from being there.” 

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh leaves the Church of St Mary Magdalene on the Sandringham Estate for the Christening of Princess Charlotte of Cambridge

He also claimed that it’s possible Sandringham is “where she feels closest to Philip”. Prince Philip passed away in April 2021 and whilst it might be unlikely that the Queen would stay in Norfolk until this devastating anniversary, that could of course be possible.  

It’s not yet known whether the monarch is planning to move to Norfolk until February 2022. If she does, this would certainly be in keeping with previous years before the Covid-19 pandemic. The extension of her stay at Sandringham would also allow the Queen to not only to remember her father, but to feel closer to Philip after what has been a very difficult year.

Emma Shacklock
Senior Lifestyle Writer

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home, Goodto.com, and My Imperfect Life.