Queen 'regretfully' CANCELS Christmas party with Royal Family over Omicron fears

THE Queen has cancelled her family Christmas party over Covid fears.

Her Majesty said it was "with regret" the annual royal get-together would not be going ahead as planned – but that it was "the right thing to do" as the Omicron variant rages across the UK.

The decision was described as "a precautionary one" as it was felt the festive lunch would "put too many people's Christmas arrangements at risk if it went ahead".

Buckingham Palace declined to comment further as it is a "private family event".

The monarch had been due to host The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, among 50 or so other members of the Royal Family, at Windsor Castle on Tuesday.

There was due to be wine, crackers and a feast inside the castle – before the Queen set off for Sandringham, Norfolk, for the big day itself.

It will be the monarch’s first Christmas in 73 years without her husband Prince Philip, who died at the age of 99 in April.

Tuesday's party had been moved from Buckingham Palace to Windsor where the Queen remains on “light duties” after health scares.

Three of her four new grandchildren — August, Lucas and Siena — all born this year, had been expected to join the party.

But US-based Prince Harry, Meghan, Archie and their daughter Lilibet, who was also born this year, were not scheduled to fly over for the bash.

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A very small number of loved ones had been expected to join the Queen in Sandringham for the festive break, but this may now not go ahead as planned.

It had been hoped the celebrations would be bigger than last year when Her Majesty was forced to spend it at Windsor for the first time in 33 years.

The royal made the difficult decision to postpone her annual family tradition after a record number of Covid cases were recorded yesterday.

A total of 78,610 fresh infections were reported in the 24 hours to December 15 – the highest ever daily figure.

The number of Omicron cases also soared by 90 per cent on last Tuesday's 633 to to 4,671.

The total of Omicron cases in the UK stands at 10,017, but health officials have warned the true number is likely several-fold higher.


The pace of the outbreak is moving at a speed never seen before, experts say.

It’s being driven by the Omicron Covid variant which is more transmissible than Delta and was only detected in the UK only three weeks ago – but it may have been spreading before this.

In the past seven days alone, 404,869 people have tested positive for Covid, up 19.1 per cent on the week prior. 

Boris Johnson has insisted he is not imposing legal restrictions of family gatherings this Christmas, but Prof Chris Whitty delivered a gloomy warning to "deprioritise" social events.

The miserable advice to only see friends and family when absolutely necessary has left Brits fuming at a lockdown "by stealth".

At last night's sombre press conference the PM stressed: "We're not cancelling events, we're not closing hospitality, we're not cancelling people's parties or their ability to mix.

"What we are saying is think carefully before you go."

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