Queen Elizabeth II and the rest of the members of the British royal family have been scaling down their pre-Christmas plans in order to spend the holiday with the monarch at her Sandringham estate. However, the annual festivities at Sandringham continue to be under review due to the increasing cases of omicron variant of the coronavirus in the UK.

The British monarch was planning to welcome around 50 relatives including senior members of "The Firm" for a pre-Christmas lunch at Windsor Castle this week. However, she cancelled the plans reportedly in hopes of ensuring that the annual Christmas gathering at Sandringham goes ahead. She also missed her usual church service at Windsor Castle as a precaution amid the rising cases of infections.

Meanwhile, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Princess Anne, Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, as well as Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton, reportedly agreed to reduce all but essential contacts ahead of Christmas Day to make sure they can accompany the queen at Sandringham.

According to a report in The Sun, despite the precautionary measures, the queen has already called off the annual party at Sandringham over fears that it could become an omicron super spreader. Sources said that the 95-year-old has been advised to close the gates to her private grounds to reduce the chances of coronavirus transmission.

Thousands of members of the public queue in the streets annually to catch a glimpse of the royal family as they walk to St Mary Magdalene Church on Christmas Day, but sources claim that the staff fully expect the famous footpath to be fenced off even if the estate is not completely closed.

One insider said, "Of course everyone would love everything back to normal – but the situation is anything but."

The monarch had to cancel the annual celebrations at Sandringham last year as well due to the rising cases of the Delta Covid variant. She had spent the holiday isolated at Windsor Castle with her husband Prince Philip, who passed away at the age of 99 in April this year, which is why her family had been trying to ensure she doesn't have to spend this Christmas alone.

Senior aides to the Queen told the outlet that the Christmas plans "continue to be under review," and a decision is expected soon. Meanwhile, insiders claimed that the monarch, who is currently in London, will continue staying at Windsor Castle over the Christmas period instead of travelling to Sandringham in Norfolk.

Queen Elizabeth II
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, pictured on October 12, 2021. Photo: POOL / Frank Augstein POOL / Frank Augstein