The Queen has cancelled a pre-Christmas lunch as the UK battles its way through another Covid spike.
Around 50 members of the British royal family were set to meet at Windsor Castle on Wednesday for a Christmas celebration, but the Queen has decided to be cautious and "regretfully" cancelled the lunch with sources suggesting the party could put too many people's Christmases at risk.
"There is a belief that it is the right thing to do for all concerned," royal sources have said, according to 9Honey.
On Wednesday there were 78,610 new cases of Covid detected in the UK as the Omicron variant quickly spreads across the world. This was the highest number of cases since January 8, 2021.
This will be the Queen's first Christmas since the passing of her husband of 73 years Prince Philip earlier this year. It would also be the first time much of the family would have been reunited since the funeral.
Last year's Christmas gathering was also scrapped due to Covid.
The pre-Christmas lunch is normally held at Buckingham Palace and is held each year for extended family members who don't visit Norfolk over the holidays.
Normally, the Queen invites her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to join her at Buckingham Palace.
This year, her newest great-grandchildren August, Lucas and Sienna were expected to join, while Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and their children Archie and Lilibet were set to stay in the US.
The royal family traditionally join the Queen at Sandringham on Christmas Eve and then visit St Mary Magdalene church on Christmas Day.
Last year, the Queen and Philip spend Christmas Day together at Windsor alone, having spent much of the year with a reduced number of staff in what was referred to as the HMS Bubble.
The Queen has been carrying out light duties since October when she was ordered by doctors to rest and spent a night in hospital.
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