British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II has cancelled Christmas activities at her estate in Sandringham, Norfolk amid rising Omicron cases in the United Kingdom.
The Queen will now celebrate the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ at Windsor.
Windsor Castle is the residence of the British Royal family, but the Queen usually spends the festive holiday at her estate in Sandringham.
Royal sources say “the decision was a personal one after careful consideration and reflects a precautionary approach”.
This will be the Queen’s first Christmas without her husband of 73 years, Philip by her side.
Her decision to stay in Windsor comes as the Omicron variant of Covid-19 sweeps across the UK, with experts warning of up to 6,000 deaths a day if the government fails to act.
Coronavirus cases hit an all-time high on 17th December, when 93,045 cases were logged.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has so far refused to implement new containment measures, although he said his government is monitoring Omicron levels ‘hour by hour’.
It has been a tradition for the Queen to spend Christmas with her family at Sandringham for many years. But she had to cancel pre-Christmas lunch for extended family.
A senior palace source said: “The decision is a precautionary one as it is felt to put too many people’s Christmas arrangements at risk if it went ahead.
“While there is regret that it is cancelled, there is a belief it is the right thing to do for all concerned”.
The Government’s coronavirus interactive map shows that 45 cases have been recorded over seven days around the Sandringham estate.
This is up 246 per cent on the week before and means the area has an infection rate of 662.7 cases per 100,000 people.
Omicron cases are spreading so fast in the UK that the Covid map is now being updated with a new colour to show spiralling infections.