As the first Christmas since the COVID-19 vaccine was administered, it seemed like gatherings could start feeling somewhat normal again. However, the Queen is saying otherwise—and it may impact Prince William and Kate Middleton’s Christmas plans.
Due to the spread of the Omicron variant, the monarch has canceled her traditional plans of celebrating at the Sandringham Estate in eastern England, according to a senior Buckingham Palace source. For the second year in a row, the queen, 95, has called off the trip to Norfolk, where the royal family has gathered for years now. The usual crowds that watch them go to their local church on Christmas Day won’t see them—this year, the queen has decided to stay at Windsor Castle, where she has resided for the majority of the pandemic. It will also mark her first Christmas without her husband, Prince Philip, who died in April 2021 at 99 years old.
In the lead-up to the holidays, the Queen has reduced her traveling and workload since being hospitalized in October 2021, according to NBC News. She has since attended virtual meetings and performed other small duties.
Like most countries around the world, Britain is seeing a major increase in COVID-19 cases, with 615,707 cases reported in the last week, according to the UK’s coronavirus data. Boris Johnson, the prime minister, is tempted to implement new restrictions, but decided not to enforce another Christmas lockdown, like in 2020. “We will have to reserve the possibility of taking further action to protect the public, and to protect public health and the NHS [National Health Service], and we won’t hesitate to take that action,” he said.
But Prince William, 39, and Kate Middleton, 39, have a plan to create just as magical of a Christmas for their kids—Prince George, 8, Princess Charlotte, 6, and Prince Louis, 3—as before. Just like us normal folk, sometimes they prefer a night in with the family to relax. This year, their Christmas will consist of watching movies and playing games. Prince William’s favorite Christmas film? The Will Ferrell movie, Elf, of course.
“It’s very funny and I keep watching it every Christmas, it still makes me laugh,” said the Duke of Cambridge, according to The Sun.
In between Christmas movie binges, the royal family will also be playing a series of board games—and getting quite competitive. “We love Monopoly, that’s good,” he said. “And Risk, that’s a good game. It goes on for hours, and usually everybody gets very cross because they lose.”
While they won’t get to celebrate Christmas with the royal family members that were invited to the Sandringham estate, they will still ring in the holiday with the Queen in a small group, as reported by The Mirror. Along with Prince Charles and Camilla, Princess Anne and Prince Edward and his wife (Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex will not be in attendance), William’s family has reduced in-person communication with all but essential contacts in preparation to see her.
We’re wishing the royals a happy holiday and are looking forward to next year when they might be able to celebrate together as one big family again.