Queen Elizabeth II has arrived at Wood Farm in Sandringham, her husband Prince Philip's retirement home, for the first time since his death in April last year.

Buckingham Palace confirmed that the 95-year-old travelled from Windsor Castle to Sandringham in Norfolk by helicopter on Sunday morning, a month after her scheduled visit to the estate for the Christmas holiday was cancelled due to rising cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. She is expected to stay at the country retreat for a number of weeks.

The British monarch traditionally visits the estate this time of the year to mark the death anniversary of her father King George VI, who had passed away in his sleep there at the age of 56 in 1952. On February 6, she will mark 70 years of her father's demise as well as her accession as the monarch of England. She will spend Accession Day in quiet, sombre reflection with her close family members, while official celebrations for her reign will begin months later.

Apart from being her father's final home, Sandringham also served as a retirement home to her husband Prince Philip. The Duke of Edinburgh relocated to Wood Farm on the estate after stepping back from his royal duties in August 2017, and spent most of his time there in the last years of his life.

The couple travelled to Windsor Castle in March 2020 for their annual winter vacation, but stayed there in isolation as the coronavirus outbreak happened around the same time. The Prince Consort breathed his last at the Castle on the morning of April 9, 2021, with his wife by his bedside.

The Queen usually stays at the main house when she visits Sandringham, but she has chosen to stay at the Wood Farm this time, apparently to remember her husband. According to a report in Mail Online, she has also instructed her staff to keep the Christmas decorations up at the estate until February 6, as a quiet tribute to her late father.

"Everything is being put in order for the Queen's visit," a source said ahead of her arrival.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
Prince Philip was married to Queen Elizabeth for seven decades Photo: AFP / Filippo MONTEFORTE