The Queen and Prince Philip have delayed their traditional festive trip to Sandringham after they both came down with heavy colds. The royal couple had been planning to head out of London after hosting a pre-Christmas lunch for both senior royals and distant relatives.

However, after coming down with winter bugs, they have decided not to catch the train from King’s Cross to King’s Lynn until they feel a bit better. From King’s Lynn, they are usually driven to Sandringham, where the Queen stays each year until February.

Royal security had clearly been expecting the journey to go ahead this morning. However, just a few minutes before the Queen was expected to catch the train out of London at 10.44, officers were told they could stand down. At the other end of the journey, security officers had also set up a cordon, ready for her arrival. Police officers could be seen looking around in anticipation of any sign of the monarch.

Seasonal illness

However, after hours of speculation about what could be wrong, Buckingham Palace revealed that the two both were suffering from seasonal colds to had decided not to travel. However, they are still expected to head to Sandringham in time for Christmas, so they can enjoy traditional celebrations on Christmas Day, followed by an annual shoot on Boxing Day.

The delay in travel plans came just after the Queen hosted her pre-Christmas lunch so that she could catch up with relatives who have not received an invite to Sandringham.

It also followed an announcement that the Queen was scaling back her official charity activity, having given up more than 20 patronages of organisations including Save the Children.

The 25 charities which she is giving up patronages for, will be handed to younger members of the Royal Family, including Prince William and Prince Harry.