Queen wraps up warm for a horse ride around grounds of Windsor Castle

The Queen wrapped up warm this morning as she joined a groom for a ride around the grounds of Windsor castle.

Her Majesty, 94, sported a silk headscarf and beige trench coat for a leisurely ride around her home accompanied by an aide. 

The royal, and her husband Prince Philip, 99, traditionally spend the festive season with close family on Sandringham, their Norfolk estate. 

Last week it was announced the couple will forgo their traditional Christmas festivities at Sandringham and remain at Windsor Castle for December 25, where they have been isolating with a ‘bubble’ of staff since October due to the ongoing pandemic.

The Queen wrapped up warm this morning as she joined a groom for a ride around the grounds of Windsor castle

The Queen wrapped up warm this morning as she joined a groom for a ride around the grounds of Windsor castle

This morning, the Queen’s second son, Prince Andrew was also spotted riding in Windsor.

The Duke of York, 60, who lives at the Royal Lodge just three miles away from the residence,  drove to Windsor Castle and headed out for an early morning horse ride, hours after the Daily Mail revealed he stayed at Jeffrey Epstein ‘s New York mansion during a trip when it is alleged he slept with a trafficked teenager.

Accompanied by a female groom, the royal seemed to be having an in-depth conversation and was pictured expressing himself with an arm in the air. 

His early morning ride comes days after he was notably absent from the Queen’s end-of-year reunion at Windsor Castle with senior royals. 

Her Majesty, 94, sported a silk headscarf and beige trench coat for a leisurely ride around her home accompanied by an aide

Her Majesty, 94, sported a silk headscarf and beige trench coat for a leisurely ride around her home accompanied by an aide

Her Majesty was joined by Princess Anne, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge back from their 1,250-mile ‘morale boosting’ tour of the UK.

The Duke of York has been notably absent from royal engagements since stepping back from duties late last year after his disastrous Newsnight interview about  his friendship with paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein. 

During their whirlwind UK tour last week, Prince William, 38, admitted he and wife Kate Middleton, 38, are still struggling over their festive plans. 

The Royal Family including Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex (left), Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (second from left), Queen Elizabeth II (centre), Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (second from right) and Anne, Princess Royal (right). Prince Andrew was notably absent from the royal reunion

The Royal Family including Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex (left), Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (second from left), Queen Elizabeth II (centre), Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (second from right) and Anne, Princess Royal (right). Prince Andrew was notably absent from the royal reunion 

Where will the royal family spend Christmas? 

Charles and Camilla: Understood to be spending it alone at their home of Highgrove but will see Queen and Phillip ‘at some point’ during the holidays.

They will also see Camilla’s children Tom Parker Bowles and Laura Lopes at some point.

Prince William and Kate Middleton: Could spend Christmas at Anmer Hall, Norfolk or  with the Middletons in Berkshire.

The Wessexes: Prince Edward and Sophie are likely to spend Christmas at their home of Bagshot Park in Surrey.

The Yorks: Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson are likely to spend Christmas with Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice, as well as their husbands Jack Brooksbank and Edo Mapelli Mozzi. They may spend Christmas at the Royal Lodge in Windsor.

Princess Anne: The Princess Royal may spend Christmas with her children Zara Tindall, who is expecting her third child, and Peter Philips and their families on their estate of Gatcombe.   

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle: The Sussexes are spending Christmas in California.

Speaking on True Royalty TV’s Royal Beat, Robert Jobson said he can’t see the Cambridges continuing with the annual Sandringham tradition.

Reflecting on how Covid-19 has affected the Firm’s Christmas celebrations, the royal expert and biographer said: ‘This could be a watershed moment for them. 

‘The Cambridges, who have got young kids, they want to spend [Christmas] with their grandmother, the Middleton family as well. 

‘I don’t think they want to do all the formalities. I can’t actually see the Duke [of Cambridge] continuing with the [annual] shoot.’

This week William told students in Cardiff that he and Kate still don’t know who to spend the festive season with.

‘It is so difficult, we are still trying to make plans,’ William said. ‘It’s difficult to know what to do for the best.’

Lily Faulkner, 21, a second year Politics and International Studies student at Cardiff University said after her chat with the Cambridges: ‘They were trying like the rest of us to make Christmas plans with their family and still weren’t 100 per cent sure of what they were going to do or where they were going to be.’

Prince William and Kate and their three children Prince George, seven, Princess Charlotte, five, and Prince Louis, two, are most likely to spend Christmas at Anmer Hall, Norfolk or with the Duchess’ parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, in Berkshire for the first time since 2012. 

Last year the Cambridges joined the Queen at Sandringham for Christmas and took part in the walkabout to meet royal fans – though Prince Louis was absent.    

Vanity Fair’s Katie Nicholl reported: ‘The Queen has said that this is the year for her family to enjoy Christmases with other family members and not feel torn, as they often do, when a royal Christmas takes priority.’

It is understood the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will not take advantage of the relaxed Covid restrictions to form a Christmas bubble with other households.

It means the couple face spending Christmas Day without any of their four children for the first time since 1949, when the then Princess Elizabeth left a one-year-old Charles in the UK so she could be with Prince Philip in Malta. 

During their whirlwind UK tour last week, Prince William, 38, admitted he and wife Kate Middleton, 38, are still struggling over their festive plans since the Queen cancelled Sandringham. Pictured together at an event to thank local volunteers and key workers from organisations and charities in Berkshire

During their whirlwind UK tour last week, Prince William, 38, admitted he and wife Kate Middleton, 38, are still struggling over their festive plans since the Queen cancelled Sandringham. Pictured together at an event to thank local volunteers and key workers from organisations and charities in Berkshire

Earlier this month Kate’s mother Carole hinted at her royal grandchildren’s excitement over a visit from Santa Claus. 

She said the children in her family ‘get sweetly excited by the idea that Father Christmas is coming, and really want to give him something’.

Carole shared the insight on Instagram with followers of her celebration company Party Pieces, penning: ‘If you’re planning a virtual Christmas, cousins in different households might enjoy organising their goodies for Santa together over a video call.’

Sharing a picture of some Christmas products from the brand, Carole said: ‘Christmas Eve has always been a special occasion for my family.’

Last month, Carole revealed she will decorate her Christmas tree over Zoom with her four grandchildren this year in a break from their usual tradition.

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