1. ITV Report

Queen misses Sandringham church service as she recovers from heavy cold

It is highly unusual for the Queen to miss the annual church service at Sandringham. Credit: PA Wire

The Queen was too ill to attend the Christmas Day church service at Sandringham as she continues to recover from a heavy cold, Buckingham Palace has said.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "Her Majesty the Queen will not attend church at Sandringham this morning.

"The Queen continues to recover from a heavy cold and will stay indoors to assist with her recovery. Her Majesty will participate in the royal family Christmas celebrations during the day."

The Queen and Prince Philip delayed their Christmas trip to the private Sandringham estate by a day because of their illnesses.

Members of the royal family attend the Christmas Day service at Sandringham on Sunday without the Queen. Credit: PA Wire

Other members of the royal family, including the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall arrived for the service at Sandringham on Sunday morning.

Meanwhile, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a church service in Bucklebury with their children Prince George, aged three, and Princess Charlotte, 18 months.

The Queen's granddaughter Zara Tindall and her husband Mike Tindall did not attend the service after announcing in a statement on Christmas Eve that they had lost their second baby.

The baby had been due around late spring and would have been the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh's sixth great-grandchild.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive for a church service with the Middleton family. Credit: Pool

Hundreds of people had gathered outside the church of St Mary Magdalene at Sandringham to catch a glimpse of the Queen this morning.

As the supreme governor of the Church of England, the Queen's faith is understood to be extremely important to hear.

The Queen's birthday message, which was pre-recorded before she fell ill, will be broadcast as usual at 3pm on Christmas Day.

On Tuesday, it was announced that the Queen would be stepping down as patron of 25 national organisations at the end of her 90th birthday year.