Queen Elizabeth has cancelled her traditional pre-Christmas family party next week as a precaution, as cases of Covid-19 soar in the UK.
A Buckingham Palace source confirmed the decision to call off the royal gathering, which comes as cases spike with a surge in the Omicron variant.
It is understood the decision was a precaution, with the source suggesting it could put too many people’s Christmas arrangements at risk if it went ahead.
Plans were reportedly fully in place at Windsor Castle for next Tuesday’s Christmas lunch, which the 95-year-old monarch hosts each year for her extended family.
Last year’s gathering was also scrapped because of the Covid-19 crisis.
Most years, the queen invites her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to join her at Buckingham Palace before she departs for her annual Christmas stay at Sandringham.
The palace is undergoing major renovation works at present.
The pre-Christmas celebration gives the British head of state a chance to catch up with relatives who are unable to travel to Norfolk for Christmas Day.
This Christmas is the queen’s first since the death of her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.
The queen and Philip spent Christmas Day together at Windsor in 2020, without the rest of the family, after spending most of the year being cared for by a reduced number of staff in what was dubbed HMS Bubble.
She has only been carrying out light duties since October 20th when concerns for her health were heightened after royal doctors ordered her to rest and she spent a night in hospital undergoing tests.