Queen cancels British royal family’s Christmas gathering: report

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Queen Elizabeth II has canceled the royal family’s annual Christmas gathering in Norfolk, U.K., for the second year in a row as concerns continue to mount over the new omicron variant of COVID-19, according to multiple reports. 

Buckingham Palace stated that the move to cancel the gathering at Sandringham House is a personal decision by the queen and is being taken as a “precautionary approach,” BBC News reported.

Instead, the queen will stay at Windsor Castle over Christmas, though it is unclear where other royal members will celebrate Christmas, Good Morning America reported

“There will be family visiting Windsor over the Christmas period and all appropriate guidelines will be followed,” a source from Buckingham Palace told Good Morning America.

Queen Elizabeth also canceled the annual Christmastime lunch at Buckingham Palace, which she usually hosts with extended members of the family, amid omicron concerns.

This will be the queen’s first Christmas holiday without her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, who died in April at the age of 99.

Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned Britons of a “tidal wave of omicron” and pleaded with people to get their booster shots. 

The omicron variant has run rampant in the United Kingdom in the past week, causing daily case rates to soar and break records just before the holidays.

France also restricted travel from Great Britain due to the country’s COVID-19 surge, with at least one person in the United Kingdom dying so far from the new variant. 

Tags BBC Boris Johnson British Royal Family Buckingham Palace Elizabeth II London omicron Queen Elizabeth II United Kingdom

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