ROYAL FAMILY members have long spent parts of their Christmas holidays on the Sandringham Estate and expert Sir Alastair Bruce explained why Queen Elizabeth II has made the home her winter retreat.
Queen Elizabeth II headed to Sandringham on Friday after her departure for her annual Christmas retreat was delayed because of the general election. Her Majesty has brought members of the Royal Family to Sandringham several times through the years, spending time with grandchildren and great-grandchildren in the Norfolk home. Royal expert Sir Alastair Bruce suggested the memories the Queen built at the estate while growing up might have pushed the sovereign to turn Sandringham into one of her favourite residences.
Speaking to Sky News, Sir Alastair said: “Sandringham is a perfect place for her because it takes her back to her childhood.
“It’s where her first memories of Christmas were developed. She’s tried to always maintain that it’s her special place for her family to come to.”
The royal commentator added: “She loves having her family around her as many grandmothers and great-grandmothers do.
“The Duke of Edinburgh will be very much a part of that so if the Prince is held up I’m sure the Queen will mind a great deal.
“And he’ll want to come and see what’s going on and find out what joy and fun can be had with all the different relations.”
Prince Philip was transported to the King Edward VII hospital in London on Friday to treat a “pre-existing condition” but Buckingham Palace issued a statement insisting the move was a “precautionary measure”.
The Queen has spent several of her Winter breaks in Sandringham, usually travelling up to King’s Lynn by train a few days before Christmas to then head back to the Capital after February 6, the anniversary of her father’s death.
King George VI died in Sandringham in 1952 while then-Princess Elizabeth was in Kenya with Prince Philip on a royal tour. The couple had left the UK on January 31, the king having seen them off at Heathrow Airport after having asked his eldest daughter to personally travel to the African state as the lung cancer plaguing him left him too debilitated to travel.
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George VI later returned to Sandringham House, Norfolk, where he died on February 6.
Princess Elizabeth was informed of his passing by Prince Philip after a local newspaper reporter told him and the pair headed back to the UK, where the now-Queen made her first appearance as sovereign in somber mourning attire.
Despite the heartbreaking memories connected to the estate, the Queen has since transformed Sandringham into a family retreat and has welcomed generations of royals during the Christmas holidays.
While in Sandringham, the Queen will have a chance to relax and rest after a difficult year.
But next week she will host several guests, with many senior royals expected to spend their Christmas with Her Majesty.
Among them are Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and their children George, Charlotte and Louis.
Prince Andrew is also expected to be in Sandringham with his daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.
Zara and Mike Tindall are often guests of the Queen between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, and royal fans could spot them among the members of the Royal Family walking to church on December 25.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry however will spend their first Christmas as a family with their son Archie in Canada, as confirmed on Friday by a spokesman for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.