Queen Elizabeth II did not attend her usual Christmas service. It is an important event in the royal family's celebrations, bringing the reigning monarch not only close to her family, but also to the locals who gather outside the palace to glimpse her.
"The Queen continues to recover from a heavy cold and will stay indoors to assist with her recovery," Buckingham Palace said. "Her Majesty will participate in the royal family Christmas celebrations during the day," as reported by USA Today.
The Queen's husband Prince Philip, her son Prince Charles, and her grandson Prince Harry attended the church service. Elizabeth has been attending the Christmas service at the parish church of St Mary Magdalene in Sandringham regularly, after 1988, according to CNN.
At the palace, there is first a special lunch, followed by long, extended walks in the country. Having maintained robust health and an active daily routine, Queen Elizabeth has followed a regular annual schedule, although she has not taken her walks as she is wont to do.
The 95-year-old husband, Prince Philip, has reduced his public schedule and charitable works, as he is also experiencing a heavy cold, according to the palace. The royal couple left for Sandringham one day later than expected, flying by helicopter rather than train.
Through her pre-recorded Christmas Day message, the Queen praised British Olympic and Paralympic athletes and others who inspired her.
"To be inspirational, you don't have to save lives or win medals. I often draw strength from meeting ordinary people doing extraordinary things - volunteers, carers, community organizers and good neighbors. Unsung heroes whose quiet dedication makes them special," she said.
On Sunday afternoon, the message was televised throughout Britain and much of the Commonwealth. The royal couple will be joined in Sandringham by other senior royals.
Meanwhile, Prince William and his wife Kate, along with their two children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, celebrated Christmas with Kate's parents.