Queen Elizabeth II misses Christmas service due to illness

SANDRINGHAM, England — A bad cold kept Queen Elizabeth II from attending the traditional Christmas morning church service near her Sandringham estate in rural Norfolk, England.

It is extremely rare for Elizabeth, 90, to miss the service, which is a cornerstone of the royal family’s Christmas celebrations and brings the monarch into contact with residents who gather outside.

‘‘The Queen continues to recover from a heavy cold and will stay indoors to assist with her recovery,’’ Buckingham Palace said. ‘‘Her Majesty will participate in the royal family Christmas celebrations.’’


Elizabeth has been in generally good health and has maintained an active schedule in the last year despite traveling less often than in the past.

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Her husband, 95-year-old Prince Philip, was also suffering from a heavy cold earlier in the week, but he was able to attend the Sunday service.