Queen and Philip arrive at RAA
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh delayed their trip to Sandringham after falling ill Getty

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh travelled to Sandringham House by helicopter on Thursday (22 December) for their traditional Christmas break.

The 90-year-old British monarch and husband Prince Philip had been forced to delay their planned departure by train on Wednesday (21 December) after falling ill with "heavy colds."

A Palace spokesperson previously told IBTimes UK: "The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have heavy colds, and so have decided not to travel to Sandringham today".

However, the couple were finally picked up from the gardens of Buckingham Palace on Wednesday for the hour-long flight, arriving at Sandringham House at around 2.10pm.

The royals rarely travel by helicopter, except for official engagements, preferring to take the train or car, but the Queen, who this year celebrated her 90th birthday, reportedly made an exception, under the advice of doctors, to travel by air.

The royal duo received a warm welcome from members of the public who lined the path along the 20,000-acre estate as the helicopter flew overhead.

Mother-of-three Sheena Pennington, 57, from Dersingham, Norfolk, told Mail Online: "I am glad that the Queen and Prince Philip have arrived safely. We wish them all the best and hope they has a lovely Christmas. We know they love coming up here.

"I had expected them to be driven up by car as they was not well enough to catch the train, so I was quite surprised that they came by helicopter," she added. "It seemed very sensible to fly and it got them here in double quick time. I hope they will be sitting by a fire with a hot toddy to warm them up."

The Queen and Prince Philip will be joined by other members of the Royal family over the next few days including Prince Harry, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Anne and her family as well as Prince Edward and wife Sophie and their children.

Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge will be spending Christmas with the Middleton family at their £4.7m ($5.7m) estate in Berkshire, opting to share the more casual festivities with their children Prince George and Princess Charlotte.