Queen Elizabeth II recently marked her first Christmas since she lost her husband Prince Philip, and it was a "bit of a struggle" for her especially since she was not able to spend the holiday with her entire family.

The British monarch cancelled the annual Christmas festivities at Sandringham estate to prevent any spread of the coronavirus amid rising cases of its Omicron variant. Instead of travelling to Norfolk, she decided to stay at Windsor Castle, where she was joined by her eldest son Prince Charles and his wife Duchess Camilla for a Christmas feast.

A source told Us Weekly, "Christmas was a bit of a struggle for the queen without Prince Philip by her side. And not being able to spend it with her whole family [didn't help]." The Queen had also paid tribute to her late Prince Consort in her annual Christmas message, saying, "as much as I and my family miss him, I know he would want us to enjoy Christmas."

The insider added that despite the challenges, the 95-year-old is "not one to wallow in self-pity and kept her chin up." Meanwhile, her family members made sure she had some company on the day after cancelling the celebrations at Sandringham. Prince William "liased" with his father Prince Charles who was visiting the monarch and his aunt Princess Anne to organise a group video call for the Queen. Princess Anne was initially supposed to visit her mother in person but had to isolate instead after her husband Timothy Laurence was tested positive for COVID-19.

The source said that the virtual celebration "brightened up" the queen's day. The moment also helped the holiday celebrations of Prince William and Kate Middleton's three children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, who spent the day at their countryside home, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk.

The source said about the Cambridges' Christmas celebrations, "Obviously, (they) were disappointed not to be spending the day with the queen, but thanks to modern technology, they video called her first thing in the morning to wish her a Merry Christmas. And the kids excitedly told their great-grandmother about their gifts."

Queen's Christmas message
The Queen usually celebrates Christmas at her Sandringham estate in eastern England, but she remained at Windsor Castle this year Victoria Jones/Pool via AFP