For the first time in 33 years, Queen Elizabeth II's family Christmas celebrations at Sandringham could be called off. The British monarch is currently isolating with her husband Prince Philip at Windsor Castle after leaving Norfolk for the month-long lockdown.
"We have been told not to expect them back for Christmas," a Sandringham insider said. This news comes after a revolt among workers at the estate as they refused to quarantine away from their own families. This was the reason why Queen Elizabeth II, 94, and Prince Philip, 99, spent two weeks together at Sandringham's Wood Farm cottage last month rather than in the main house.
Hopefully the queen and the Duke of Edinburgh who are isolating at Windsor will help quell tension, after Sandringham estate workers revolted against a plan for them to stay in a coronavirus bubble there over Christmas.
About 20 employees had been asked to remain on the monarch's Norfolk estate without their families to support her, the duke and other members of the British royal family during the festive period. However, the group consisting of cleaners, laundry and maintenance workers are believed to have revolted because they are unwilling to isolate from loved ones for four weeks.
"No final decision has been taken on Christmas," a Buckingham Palace spokesman said.
Another insider added: "Nothing has been resolved as staff are still refusing to quarantine from their families. So it's looking almost certain they can't have Christmas inside the big house at Sandringham. It is possible, of course, to arrange a smaller one for Philip and the Queen at Wood Farm cottage."
The source said that moving the queen and the duke to Windsor, where they know the bubble works, makes it simpler to start planning to stay there for Christmas.
The uprising means the queen could be forced to spend Christmas at Windsor Castle for the first time in 33 years. A royal source told The Sun: "The Queen is furious. The staff said enough is enough. It is absolutely unprecedented. Everybody wants to stay loyal but they feel they've been pushed too far by being made to isolate from their families for Christmas. Discussions are taking place with the team on operational matters but it is too early to speculate on implications for Christmas."
The monarch typically spends her winter break at Sandringham, travelling up after the Christmas party for extended family members at Buckingham Palace in December.