The Queen enjoys private carriage en route to Sandringham

The Queen showed her down-to-earth side by trading her royal transport for a ride on the passenger train to Norfolk. The monarch is kicking of her annual Christmas sojourn to her country home, Sandringham.

But unlike other commuters, Her Majesty was, naturally, given VIP treatment and a first class carriage was cordoned off for herself and her husband Prince Philip.

As they do most years, the royals took the 10:44am train from King's Cross in north London to King's Lynn in Norfolk. The small train station is located just a few minutes' drive from Sandringham.

TAP TO VIEW GALLERY The Queen boarded the 10:44am train from King's Cross

Eager to kick start the Christmas holidays, the Queen was all smiles as she arrived at King's Cross in the morning. The 89-year-old monarch wrapped up from the winter chill in a blush pink coat and carried her favourite black leather handbag.

Reports claim that Her Majesty spent much of the 1 hour 37 minute journey on her mini iPad, while also leafing through some paperwork. The Duke, meanwhile, kept himself occupied with a book.

Prince Philip took a book for the 1 hour 37 minute journey

They were believed to have purchased first class tickets for £54.90 in advance, travelling with a few protection officers who will have stopped other passengers from entering their part of the train.

After arriving at King's Lynn, Her Majesty, now wearing a floral headscarf, left the platform via a side entrance – which was renamed the Queen's Gate when the station was given a refurbishment three years ago. She was then led to a waiting Range Rover for the final leg of the journey to Sandringham.

The Queen arrived at King's Lynn, just a short drive away from Sandringham

Every year the Queen and Prince Philip spend the festive season in their country estate, and invite members of the royal family to celebrate Christmas with them. Prince William and Kate and their two children Prince George and Princess Charlotte live nearby at Anmer Hall, also located on the estate.

In keeping with tradition, the royals attend a service at the parish church of St Mary Magdalene on Christmas Day, before returning to the Queen's 20,000-acre estate for Christmas lunch.

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