The Queen has cancelled an appearance at a New Year's Day church service in Sandringham because continuing illness Buckingham Palace says.

A Palace spokeswoman said: "Her Majesty The Queen will not attend Sunday worship at Sandringham today. The Queen does not yet feel ready to attend church as she is still recuperating from a heavy cold."

The monarch has had the cold for over a week, but she is believed to be up and walking. The Duke of Edinburgh is expected to be present at the St Mary Magdalene church, who is now fully recovered from his illness.

Her Majesty has not been seen in public for 12 days and was also not present at the Christmas Day service on her Norfolk estate because she was unwell. Her absence was said to be a "precautionary measure" with Buckingham Palace cautioning that it had "no sense of undue concern".

Whether Kate Middleton and Prince William travelled to Sandringham for new year isn't yet known. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte spent Christmas with Middleton's family at Bucklebury in Berkshire.

The Queen and Prince Philip began their Christmas break a day late, postponing travelling to Norfolk because they were both suffering from heavy colds.

The Duke of Edinburgh attended church, but the palace said the Queen stayed indoors "to assist with her recovery". Prince Philip, 95, reportedly joined Prince Charles, Prince Harry and other members of the Royal family for the annual Boxing Day pheasant shoot.

A fake BBC news account tweeted that Buckingham Palace announced the Queen's death at the age of 60. The hashtag #mediablackout started trending with claims of a cover-up.

Buckingham Palace responded quickly, stating that the Queen was still recovering from her illness.