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Queen misses annual Women’s Institute meeting due to illness

The Queen is not feeling well enough to attend a WI meeting as planned. Credit: PA

The Queen has been forced to miss a planned meeting at her local Women’s Institute (WI) as she's "not feeling up to it," a member of her security team has said.

The 93-year-old has a "slight cold" according to a royal source and so pulled out of her annual meeting with the group in Norfolk.

Her Majesty joined the Sandringham branch of the WI in 1943 when she was still Princess Elizabeth, and attends each year as part of her winter stay on the estate.

Police and sniffer dogs had earlier searched the area around West Newton Village Hall, Norfolk, ahead of the expected arrival of the Queen. Credit: PA

Around half-an-hour before her expected arrival at West Newton Village Hall on Thursday, a member of the Queen's security team told assembled reporters and photographers that she will not be coming this year.

The news comes after a tumultuous few weeks for the Royals following the announcement from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex that they will be taking a step back from Royal life.

On Sunday, the Queen made her first appearance following the announcement, attending a service at St Mary the Virgin church with Prince Andrew in Norfolk.

The night before, the Queen had announced the outcome of discussions on the Sussexes' future which included Prince Harry and Meghan no longer using their HRH titles, and repaying £2.4 million of taxpayers' money spent on renovating their home, Frogmore Cottage.

Members of the Sandringham WI welcome a different guest speaker each year to the event.

This year's guest speaker is BBC News at Ten Presenter, Huw Edwards.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, the Welshman said it was "daunting and exciting in equal measure" to have been invited to talk at the event.

Before it emerged the Queen would not be attending, Edwards added: "I’m no stranger to public speaking but I think this is a slightly exceptional event so I’m being brave and been thinking carefully about what I might want to say."

Mr Edwards had already arrived at the event when it was revealed the Queen would no longer be able to attend.