Chloe BestThe monarch spent Christmas at Windsor Castle for the first time in 33 years instead of the beloved Norfolk property
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh broke a decades-long Royal Christmas tradition this year when they announced that they would be celebrating the holidays at Windsor Castle rather than at Sandringham Estate.
A palace spokesperson said: Having considered all the appropriate advice, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have decided that this year they will spend Christmas quietly in Windsor."
Typically, the monarch stays at her Scottish estate Balmoral Castle until October before returning to London to resume her royal duties ahead of spending winter at Sandringham House, but the coronavirus pandemic has seen Her Majesty alter her plans slightly this year.
The Queen would usually stay at the Sandringham Estate until early February, after marking the anniversary of her father's death privately.
She is one of four monarchs to have continued to celebrate Christmas at Sandringham, and it's easy to see why she loves spending time on the 600-acre estate.
As well as staying in the 19th-century Sandringham House, the Queen and her family are regular visitors to the estate's church, St. Mary Magdalene, where Prince George and Princess Charlotte made their debut at the annual Christmas Day service in 2019. Keep reading to see more of the Sandringham Estate…
Sandringham House was bought by Queen Victoria in 1862 for the Prince of Wales, who found the property too small and had a larger building commissioned. The Grade II-listed building is Jacobethan in style, and has a ballroom, saloon and spacious dining room where the royal can enjoy their Christmas lunch.
WATCH: George and Charlotte make their public debut on Christmas Day in Sandringham
A photo shared on the Sandringham Estate's Instagram account in March 2020 gave royal fans a glimpse inside the saloon of the house, which is said to be where the royals like to spend their evenings, and also where they have afternoon tea together on Christmas Eve.
The saloon is located at the entrance to the house and spans two floors, with a balcony over the entrance that was built to house the band when the space was previously used as a ballroom. Wooden panelling and ornate columns are among the features of this impressive room, which has a portrait of the Queen hung on one wall, and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.
The royals would be able to congregate and relax together on the cream sofas, while there is also a wooden dining table and a piano that has been topped with photos including one that appears to be from a royal wedding.
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The dining room at the Queen's country estate, Sandringham House, still features a lot of Queen Mary's influence. The walls feature pale green wooden panelling and striking Spanish tapestries, with an open fireplace and mahogany dining table that looks like the perfect setting for a dinner party.
The Sandringham Estate shared this stunning photo of the opulent Drawing Room on Instagram in July 2020. In a caption, it explained that the room had been described as "a very long and handsome drawing room" in a diary entry by Queen Victoria in 1871.
It features a striking trompe l'oeil ceiling panel with a golden pheasant painting overlooking the room below, which has cream walls with ornate carved detailing and two sets of floor-to-ceiling mirrored doors at the far end.
A log fireplace is at the centre of the room with a mirror and ornaments overhead, and four armchairs have been positioned in front, where the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh and other royals could sit together.
Sandringham House was the location for the Queen's first ever Christmas broadcast in 1952. Her Majesty now tends to record her annual message in Buckingham Palace before going to Sandringham for the holidays.
The grounds of Sandringham are scenic to say the least, with a beautiful lake and gardens that the royals can explore.
The Sandringham Estate shared this photo on Instagram from within the Queen's private gardens in Norfolk. The 17-acre Walled Garden is filled with a variety of flowers including Penstemons and Dahlias. The caption read: "The entrance passes under the brick pillars once belonging to an old pergola – today they act as a natural home for climbers."
Anmer Hall is Prince William and Kate's country residence, which was given to them by the Queen following their royal wedding in 2011. It is located on the Sandringham Estate and is where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will stay with their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. In 2017, the family also hosted Prince Harry and Meghan.