The 95-year-old monarch is expected to spend the weekend at her Norfolk estate as she recuperates after doctors advised her to cancel all official visits for a fortnight amid her determination to be fit for Remembrance Sunday.
Her Majesty last week pulled out of a planned visit to the landmark Cop26 climate change conference in Glasgow and instead recorded a video message from Windsor last Friday, which was played to world leaders on Monday.
And her 105-mile flight to Sandringham for the weekend comes after insiders said the Queen was determined to host her family at the estate for Christmas this year after the pandemic forced them to scrap last year’s event.
Buckingham Palace refused to comment to MailOnline on her trip today, and a source said it was a ‘private matter’.
Queen Elizabeth II is seen during a Cop26 video message recorded last Friday and played in Glasgow on Monday this week
The Queen was pictured driving close to Windsor Castle on Monday after being instructed by doctors to rest for a fortnight
A royal source told Mirror Online today: ‘The Queen had been hoping she would still be able to spend the weekend at Sandringham and was delighted her doctors gave her the all clear to travel.
‘Her Majesty is very much looking forward to hosting her family at her Norfolk home for the Christmas holiday and there is much preparation to be done in time to accommodate everyone who has been invited.
‘The Queen has many happy memories of being at Sandringham with the family over Christmas and was in the firm belief that she was far better off being there in person to oversee everything as much as possible.’
The source added that the Queen travelled ‘on the understanding with her doctors that she continues to rest as advised’ after they said last week that she should only take part in ‘light, desk-based’ duties for at least a fortnight.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, who died in April, last year spent their Christmas alone at Windsor Castle – which made it the first time since 1987 that she did not spend the holiday with her family at Sandringham.
The Queen has been staying at Windsor Castle in Berkshire for rest following her overnight hospital stay last night
The monarch is expected to spend the weekend at her Norfolk estate of Sandringham after flying there by helicopter
The monarch has vowed to attend the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph on November 14, even though she will miss the traditional Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall the previous day.
The Queen’s very busy October schedule
The Queen maintained her typically busy schedule in October up until she was told to rest by doctors and cancelled a trip to Northern Ireland around two weeks ago. Here is what the 95-year-old monarch has been up to since the start of October:
- October 6: The Queen holds two virtual audiences at Windsor with the Greek ambassador and the ambassador for Belize. She meets Canadian troops from 1st Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, and later has a telephone audience with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
- October 7: The Queen, with the Earl of Wessex, launches the Queen’s Baton Relay for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games from the forecourt of Buckingham Palace.
- October 12: The Queen, accompanied by the Princess Royal, attends a Westminster Abbey service of thanksgiving to mark the centenary of the Royal British Legion. She uses a walking stick at the abbey, the first time she has done so at a major event.
- October 13: The monarch has a face-to-face audience with pianist Dame Imogen Cooper to present her with the Queen’s Medal for Music. She also holds three other audiences.
- October 14: On an away day to Cardiff, the Queen delivers a speech at the sixth session of the Welsh Senedd.
- October 16: The Queen enjoys a day at the races at Ascot, and presents the trophy after the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes during the Qipco British Champion Day.
- October 18: She holds a virtual audience with the new Governor-General of New Zealand, Dame Cindy Kiro.
- October 19: The Queen has three engagements, two virtual audiences with the Japanese ambassador and the EU ambassador, and then hosts an evening reception at Windsor Castle to mark the Global Investment Summit.
- October 20: The Queen is under strict orders to rest and ‘reluctantly’ cancels a two-day trip to Northern Ireland.
- October 21: Buckingham Palace confirms the Queen spent the previous night in hospital for ‘preliminary investigations’. She returns to Windsor Castle at lunchtime and is said to be in ‘good spirits’, back at her desk, undertaking light duties.
- October 24: The monarch misses a church service at Windsor.
- October 26: The Queen carries out virtual audiences from Windsor Castle, her first official engagements since she was ordered to rest by doctors. Later, Buckingham Palace announces the Queen has ‘reluctantly decided’ not to attend a Cop26 reception in Glasgow on November 1. Instead, she will deliver an address via recorded video message.
The head of state had been due to attend Cop26 where she had hoped to deliver an in-person speech and to host a reception, but was forced to drop out after royal doctors said that she should not travel for any duties.
The Royal Family were instead represented at the conference by Prince Charles, Camilla and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Last month, the Queen was secretly taken to the private King Edward VII Hospital in London. Royal aides have only said that the trip was for ‘preliminary investigations’ with the exact reason for the trip still unknown.
Speaking last weekend, the Prime Minister said that the Queen was in good spirits when they held their regular weekly audience last Wednesday.
Boris Johnson said: ‘She seems in very good form. She’s been told by her doctors that she’s got to rest and I think we’ve got to respect that and understand that. I think the whole country wishes her well.’
But despite reassurances from Buckingham Palace that she remains in good spirits, public concern is unlikely to be eased at what has been the lengthiest absence from ill health during her reign.
Doctors will reassess the monarch at the end of her recommended fortnight of rest, with it likely that her diary could be affected for some time to come.
The Queen’s eagerness to get out and about as soon as possible will ultimately be overshadowed by what her doctors think is best.
This will leave other senior royals, especially the Prince of Wales, having to attend more engagements on her behalf whenever possible.
Concerns about the Queen, who has recently been seen using a walking stick at events for the first time, were triggered last month when she cancelled a two-day tour to Northern Ireland.
The decision came just hours before she was due to fly and despite aides saying she stayed at Windsor Castle she was later whisked to hospital for her first overnight stay for eight years.
On Monday the Queen was photographed driving close to Windsor Castle in Berkshire in a green estate car, wearing a signature headscarf and a pair of sunglasses.
During her message to world leaders at Cop26 on Monday, the Queen issued a powerful plea to them over the climate crisis, saying they should put aside division and act now for the sake of ‘our children’.
In her first major intervention on the environment, the monarch said they should ‘rise above the politics’ and show ‘true statesmanship’ on the issue.
Speaking in a video message – played at a reception marking the first day of the climate summit – the Queen declared: ‘The time for words has now moved to the time for action.’
She included a poignant nod to her advancing years, saying many involved in the Glasgow summit – including herself – would not see the fruits of their actions, adding: ‘None of us will live for ever.’
But she stressed: ‘We are doing this not for ourselves but for our children and our children’s children, and those who will follow in their footsteps.’
She struck a markedly positive note, saying that ‘working side by side’ the world’s leaders could solve ‘the most insurmountable problems’ and ‘triumph over the greatest of adversities’.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh last year spent their Christmas alone at Windsor Castle – the first time since 1987 that she did not spend the holiday with her family at Sandringham. The Queen and Philip are pictured at Sandringham in 2017
Insiders said the Queen was determined to host her family at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk for Christmas this year
She spoke with unusual candour of her pride in her family and their stance on the environment – from ‘my dear late husband’, the Duke of Edinburgh, to her son the Prince of Wales and grandson the Duke of Cambridge.
She recalled how in 1969 Prince Philip told an academic gathering: ‘If the world pollution situation is not critical at the moment, it is as certain as anything can be that the situation will become increasingly intolerable within a very short time… If we fail to cope with this challenge, all the other problems will pale into insignificance.’
The Queen said: ‘It is a source of great pride to me that the leading role my husband played in encouraging people to protect our fragile planet lives on through the work of our eldest son Charles and his eldest son William. I could not be more proud of them.’
She added she had also ‘drawn great comfort and inspiration from the relentless enthusiasm of people of all ages – especially the young – in calling for everyone to play their part’.
But she emphasised the enormous task ahead, saying: ‘In the coming days, the world has the chance to join in the shared objective of creating a safer, stabler future for our people and for the planet on which we depend.’