Queen El­iz­a­beth II misses Xmas ser­vice due to ill­ness

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

A bad cold kept Queen El­iz­a­beth II from at­tend­ing the tra­di­tional Christ­mas morn­ing church ser­vice near her Sandringham es­tate in ru­ral Nor­folk, Eng­land, rais­ing some con­cerns about her health. It’s ex­tremely rare for El­iz­a­beth, now 90, to miss the ser­vice, which is a cor­ner­stone of the royal fam­ily’s Christ­mas cel­e­bra­tions and brings the monarch into con­tact with lo­cals who gather out­side for a glimpse of her.

“The Queen con­tin­ues to re­cover from a heavy cold and will stay in­doors to as­sist with her re­cov­ery,” Buck­ing­ham Palace said. “Her Majesty will par­tic­i­pate in the royal fam­ily Christ­mas cel­e­bra­tions dur­ing the day.” Those fes­tiv­i­ties in­cluded a gala lunch. In past years, the royal fam­ily would of­ten go for ex­tended walks in the coun­try­side.

El­iz­a­beth has been in gen­er­ally good health and has main­tained an ac­tive sched­ule in the last year de­spite trav­el­ing less of­ten than in the past. Re­cently she stepped down as pa­tron for about 20 char­i­ties and groups to lighten her work load.

Her hus­band, 95-year-old Prince Philip, has also cut back on his public sched­ule and his char­i­ta­ble works in the last few years. He was also suf­fer­ing from a se­vere cold ear­lier in the week, the palace said. Philip did at­tend the Sun­day morn­ing Christ­mas ser­vice, wav­ing to well-wish­ers on his way out of the church in a car.

Prince Harry spent time talk­ing to lo­cals af­ter the church ser­vice and stopped to pet a dog. There was no sign of his girl­friend, Amer­i­can ac­tress Meghan Markle, who re­cently vis­ited him in Lon­don.

El­iz­a­beth and Philip were joined in Sandringham by other se­nior roy­als in­clud­ing Prince Charles. Prince Wil­liam and his wife Kate, along with their two chil­dren, Prince Ge­orge and Princess Char­lotte, were cel­e­brat­ing Christ­mas with Kate’s par­ents at their home in Buck­le­bury, a vil­lage west of Lon­don.

The queen used her an­nual pre­re­corded Christ­mas Day mes­sage to praise Bri­tish Olympic and Par­a­lympic ath­letes and oth­ers who in­spired her. The tra­di­tional mes­sage of good­will was tele­vised through­out Bri­tain and much of the Com­mon­wealth.

The broad­cast in­cluded video of her 90th birthday cel­e­bra­tions and a gi­gan­tic street party at­tended by char­ity work­ers from across Bri­tain. The soft-spo­ken queen praised or­di­nary peo­ple for pitch­ing in to do good works. “To be in­spi­ra­tional, you don’t have to save lives or win medals. I of­ten draw strength from meet­ing or­di­nary peo­ple do­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary things - vol­un­teers, car­ers, com­mu­nity or­ga­niz­ers and good neigh­bors. Un­sung he­roes whose quiet ded­i­ca­tion makes them spe­cial,” she said.

She also praised the char­i­ta­ble foun­da­tions started by Philip and Charles some 60 and 40 years ago, re­spec­tively. — AP

ENGLEFIELD: Bri­tain’s Prince Wil­liam (right) and Kate, the Duchess of Cam­bridge, cen­ter, with their chil­dren Prince Ge­orge and Princess Char­lotte, ar­rive to at­tend the morn­ing Christ­mas Day ser­vice at St Mark’s Church in Englefield, Eng­land, with the fam­ily of the Duchess of Cam­bridge, Michael Mid­dle­ton, James Matthews, James Mid­dle­ton, Pippa Mid­dle­ton and Ca­role Mid­dle­ton yes­ter­day. —AP

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