Queen too ill to attend Sandringham church service

She is continuing to recover from a heavy cold

Queen too ill to attend Sandringham church service

Queen Elizabeth II inspecting a guard of honour before departing from Cork Airport in 2011 | Image: RollingNews.ie/GIS

The Queen will miss a New Year's Day church service at Sandringham because of a lingering "heavy cold", Buckingham Palace has said.

The monarch and Prince Philip both fell ill before Christmas, which forced them to delay their departure from London to the Norfolk estate for their annual festive break.

The Queen was also unable to attend a Christmas Day ceremony at St Mary Magdalene church for the first time since 1988.

Although she is thought to be up and about, she is still recovering from the persisting cold and felt unable to join other members of the royal family for today's 11am service.

A Palace spokeswoman said: "The Queen does not yet feel ready to attend church as she is still recuperating from a heavy cold."

The Duke of Edinburgh did attend the service, led by the Bishop of Norwich, after fully recovering from his cold.

He was joined by Prince Charles and Prince Harry, along with other members of the royal family.

The Queen, who turned 90 in April, traditionally spends Christmas at Sandringham with her family. She and the Duke of Edinburgh eventually made it to Norfolk a day late after cancelling a train journey and flying by helicopter instead.

The Queen, who is the world's longest-reigning living monarch, said in December she would reduce the number of her patronages.

Her role with 25 organisations, including Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Barnardo's and the Rugby Football Union, will be passed on to other members of the royal family this year.