The Queen herself has had to eschew her traditional Christmas celebrations, and is spending the festive season quietly at Windsor Castle with her husband Prince Philip, 99.

Usually, all the Windsors gather at her home on the Sandringham estate in eastern England and walk to a nearby church for a Christmas Day service, a staple of the royal calendar.

However, Britain is currently battling to curb the spread of a new variant of the novel coronavirus, with the number of new infections reaching record levels this week and the number of hospital admissions and deaths soaring.

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Much of the country has been placed under tight restrictions, and for London and the surrounding areas, households are not allowed to mix at all over Christmas, while for other areas there are strict curbs limiting contact to just a single day.

“Remarkably, a year that has necessarily kept people apart has in many ways brought us closer,” said the Queen, adding that the royals had been inspired by stories of those who volunteered to help others in need.

“In the United Kingdom and around the world, people have risen magnificently to the challenges of the year and I’m so proud and moved by this quiet indomitable spirit,” she said.

Reuters

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