Fears have emerged for Queen Elizabeth II's health after she has cancelled plans to take the train from London to King's Lynn today (21 December), at the beginning of what was meant to be her traditional Christmas break at Sandringham House in Norfolk.
Sky News presenter Kay Burley tweeted: "Queen was due to travel to Sandringham by train today. Failed to arrive" as it is has been confirmed that Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh are both suffering from colds.
A Palace spokesperson told IBTimes UK: "The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have heavy colds, and so have decided not to travel to Sandringham today".
Elizabeth II – who celebrated her 90th birthday earlier this year – has taken a scheduled service in a roped-off First Class carriage from King's Cross to Norfolk for several years – and always pays a standard First Class return fare.
The Queen's arrival at King's Lynn is the official start of Christmas for millions across Britain, and police and station staff awaited the arrival of the royal party earlier today.
Approximately half an hour before she was due to leave, they suddenly told waiting photographers: "It's not happening now."
It was originally thought that the Queen and Prince Philip may fly by helicopter to Sandringham instead. But if the Queen is too sick, this may postpone or completely change her original plans. She is also scheduled to address the nation in her annual Christmas Day speech on Sunday.
The Queen's decision to cancel her travel plans today comes a day after Buckingham Palace announced she was stepping down from being patron of 25 national organisations in order to lighten her workload.
Her patronages will be handed over to other members of the Royal Family; Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge will be patron of Wimbledon, while the Duke of Kent, as president of the All England club, will continue to present trophies at the Championships.