PRINCE William, Kate Middleton and other royals won’t attend their usual Christmas Day service in Norfolk for the first time in 32 years.
The royal family will not take part in the traditional service at St Mary Magdalene Church on the Queen’s Sandringham estate due to the coronavirus pandemic, Norfolk Police revealed today.
Kate and William will not attend church on Christmas Day this year[/caption]
Police announced the change in the royals’ tradition due to the pandemic[/caption]
It will be the first time in decades that the Royal Family have not visited the church on December 25.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will also stay away, despite spending the festive break at their country home in Anmer Hall just two miles away.
Police broke with convention to make the announcement today in an attempt to persuade Brits to stay away from the church on Christmas Day.
Thousands of loyal fans normally pack into the paddock beside the church to watch the Queen and other members of the Royal Family attend the 11am service.
But this year they are being advised to keep away due to the risk of Covid-19 spreading among crowds desperate for a glimpse of the Royals.
The Norfolk Police statement said: “Members of the public and media are advised there will be no organised royal event at Sandringham this year.
“Members of the Royal Family will not be attending the usual Christmas Day service.”
The Sandringham Churches website confirms that the Christmas Day service is going ahead at the church with two metre social distancing between worshippers and no singing.
The Queen attended the Yuletide service at St Mary Magdalene in Norfolk last year[/caption]
St Mary Magdalene church in Norfolk is usually packed on Christmas Day with crowds waiting to see the royal family[/caption]
Kate and William will spend Christmas at their country home, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk [/caption]
But it is expected that only regular local members of the congregation will be admitted – they will be required to use hand sanitiser on entering and leaving.
Anyone who wants to attend is being asked to contact the church warden in advance.
Like families across the UK, the royal family will celebrate a very different Christmas this year with the Queen, 94, and Prince Philip, 99, spending a quiet Christmas at Windsor Castle for the first time since 1988.
Normally the Queen stays in Norfolk and is driven to the festive Sandringham service in her maroon-coloured Bentley while other family members walk a quarter of a mile to the church from Sandringham House.
Last year Prince George and his sister Princess Charlotte mingled with crowds as they attended the service at the 18th century church for the first time.
The Royal Family moved their Christmas celebrations to the Norfolk estate in the 1980s due to Windsor Castle being rewired – and they have spent every Christmas there since then, until now.
The news comes as Kate and William were accused of “breaking the rule of six” earlier this week after meeting Prince Edward’s family at the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with their three children, are said to have “mingled” with Prince Edward and his family on a woodland walk at the Norfolk estate.
The extended family were visiting Luminate, a Christmas-themed walk at the Queen’s Norfolk residence, along with members of the public on Sunday evening.
The royal catch up saw William, Kate, Prince George, seven, Princess Charlotte, five, and Prince Louis, two, attend a public attraction – which was also visited by the Earl of Wessex, his wife Sophie, and their children Lady Louise Windsor, 17, and 13-year-old James Viscount Severn.
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But members of the public came to the royal couple’s defence, with many calling to give the young family “a break”.
One generous Brit gave Kate and William the benefit of the doubt, tweeting that social distancing rules were confusing.
Karina S tweeted: “It’s unclear. Let’s give them some good will.”