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Queen delays traditional Christmas trip due to illness

A handout portrait photograph released by Buckingham Palace on June 9, 2016 and taken by Annie Leibovitz to mark the Queen's 90th birthday shows Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (R) pictured at Windsor Castle just after Easter in 2016.   / AFP PHOTO / BUCKINGHAM PALACE / Annie Leibovitz /

A handout portrait photograph released by Buckingham Palace on June 9, 2016 and taken by Annie Leibovitz to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday shows Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II (L) and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (R) pictured at Windsor Castle just after Easter in 2016.<br />/ AFP PHOTO / BUCKINGHAM PALACE / Annie Leibovitz /

Queen Elizabeth II has cancelled her departure for a Christmas trip to her country estate because she and her husband have “heavy colds”, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said on Wednesday.

“The queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have heavy colds, and so have decided not to travel to Sandringham today,” the spokesman said, referring to the estate in eastern England.

The 90-year-old monarch and her 95-year-old husband Prince Philip had been expected to take a train from London as part of a yearly tradition.

Police and staff were at the station in London waiting for the queen but photographers were suddenly told the trip would not be going ahead, British media reported.

The queen and Philip hosted their annual Christmas lunch with other royal family members at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, joined by heir to the throne Prince Charles and second in line Prince William.

The queen and Philip, who has had several health problems in recent years, have been married since 1947 and she once described him as “my strength and stay all these years”.

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