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Queen Elizabeth heads for Christmas break after illness

(FILES) This file photo taken on June 11, 2016 shows (L-R) Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh waving from the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch a fly-past of aircrafts by the Royal Air Force, in London on June 11, 2016 during the annual Queen's 90th birthday celebration. Queen Elizabeth II has cancelled her departure on December 21, 2016 for a Christmas trip to her country estate because she and her husband have "heavy colds", a Buckingham Palace spokesman said. The 90-year-old monarch and her 95-year-old husband Prince Philip had been expected to travel from London as part of a yearly tradition. / AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLIS

(FILES) This file photo taken on June 11, 2016 shows (L-R) Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh waving from the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch a fly-past of aircrafts by the Royal Air Force, in London on June 11, 2016 during the annual Queen’s 90th birthday celebration. Queen Elizabeth II has cancelled her departure on December 21, 2016 for a Christmas trip to her country estate because she and her husband have “heavy colds”, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said. The 90-year-old monarch and her 95-year-old husband Prince Philip had been expected to travel from London as part of a yearly tradition. / AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLIS

Queen Elizabeth II and her husband were finally heading for their Christmas getaway after being stuck in London with heavy colds, Buckingham Palace said Thursday.

The 90-year-old monarch, and Prince Philip, 95, were forced to delay their trip by a day because they felt too unwell on Wednesday for the train journey.

The royals traditionally spend Christmas at Sandringham, the monarch’s private country estate in Norfolk, eastern England.

On Christmas Day they traditionally head to Sandringham’s church — a rare chance for the public to see several members of the royal family at close quarters and chat with them, on their way in and out.

The monarch’s traditional broadcast to the Commonwealth on Christmas Day is pre-recorded, often weeks in advance.

Prince Philip spent Christmas 2011 in hospital where he underwent a coronary angioplasty after feeling unwell at Sandringham.

On Tuesday, Buckingham Palace said the queen would stand down as patron of 25 bodies including the Wimbledon tennis championships and the Rugby Football Union, handing over her duties to younger royals.



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