01/01/2017 09:30 GMT | Updated 01/01/2017 09:49 GMT

The Queen Will Not Attend New Year's Day Church Service

Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II has a "lingering heavy cold".

The Queen will not attend a New Year’s Day church service at Sandringham because of a lingering heavy cold, Buckingham Palace said.

The late decision follows the monarch, 90, missing a Christmas Day service close to her rural retreat for the first time since 1988. 

She and the Duke of Edinburgh had delayed their journey from Buckingham Palace to their Norfolk estate in the days before Christmas after she fell ill. Other members of the royal family attended the service at St Mary Magdalene Church.

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

Missing the Christmas Day service was 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 couple have appeared to remain in good health and have missed few official engagements in recent years due to illness.