The royal family's traditional Christmas Day walkabout is likely to be cancelled.
Queen Elizabeth and her relatives usually meet and greet members of the public on the footpath between their Sandringham Estate and St Mary Magdalene Church, where they attend a morning service on 25 December, but staff have admitted they "fully expect" access to be closed off to well-wishers because of concerns over the rising coronavirus cases in the UK.
A source told the Sunday Mirror newspaper: “Of course everyone would love everything back to normal – but the situation is anything but.”
Buckingham Palace have insisted the queen's plans for Christmas are still under discussion.
And although the 95-year-old monarch is expected to travel from Windsor Castle, where she has spent much of the pandemic, to her Norfolk estate via helicopter this week, insiders admitted her plans are "still in the balance" and it is possible she may host her family for Christmas at Windsor instead.
But if the Sandringham celebrations do go ahead as planned, officials hope a socially-distanced small media gathering will allow the public to see pictures of the family on their traditional walk to church.
It was revealed on Friday (17.12.21) that the queen's traditional pre-Christmas lunch - which would be held at Windsor Castle before she travelled to Sandringham - had been cancelled because the monarch felt it "could put too many people's Christmas arrangements at risk if it went ahead".
A senior palace source added: "The Queen is regretful, but feels it is the right thing to do."
The queen usually invites her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to join her, and they're also joined by her cousins the Duke of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent and Prince Michael of Kent.
Last year's gathering was also cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.