UK

The Queen And Prince Philip Will Travel To Sandringham Today

The couple had both been suffering 'heavy colds'.

22/12/2016 13:42 GMT | Updated 22/12/2016 14:39 GMT

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have left Buckingham Palace and are travelling to Sandringham, a royal spokesman announced on Thursday afternoon.

The couple were due to travel by train from London to Norfolk on Wednesday but delayed their journey after both coming down with heavy colds.

A day later, they were transported to the estate via an hour-long journey by helicopter. 

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Queen Elizabeth II walks along the platform at King's Lynn railway station in Norfolk, as she returns to London after spending the Christmas period at Sandringham House last year
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Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh attend the annual Royal Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall in London

The monarch and her husband traditionally spend the festive period in Sandringham with their family gathered around them.

In the German tradition, presents are opened on Christmas Eve before a candlelit banquet.

On Christmas morning the family attend the traditional service at St Mary Magdalene on their grounds. On Boxing Day, the Duke of Edinburgh traditionally organises a shoot.

On Tuesday it was announced that the Queen would be stepping down as patron from 25 national organisations at the end of her 90th birthday year, with the patronages passing to other members of the Royal Family.

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Queen Elizabeth II leaves church with Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Prince Harry during the Christmas Day church service at Sandringham on 25 December, 2014 in King's Lynn

The move is likely to be seen as a common-sense decision which acknowledges the Queen’s advancing years but Buckingham Palace stressed the monarch is still patron of around 600 organisations.

The Queen and Duke, 95, were surrounded by their family on Tuesday when they hosted their annual Christmas lunch for dozens of relatives at Buckingham Palace.

Despite their advancing years, the couple appear to remain in good health and have missed few official engagements in recent years due to illness.