Queen returns to London after Sandringham Christmas break

The Queen has returned to London following her winter break in Sandringham.

The monarch, dressed in a pale blue patterned headscarf and blue coat and carrying her trademark black handbag, was pictured at King’s Lynn railway station in Norfolk.

The 93-year-old head of state’s annual stay on her private estate was less peaceful than usual.

The Queen ahead of boarding a train back to London. Credit: PA

She held a “Megxit” crisis summit in early January, resulting in the Duke and Duchess of Sussex quitting royal life and dropping their HRH styles for a life of financial freedom.

The Queen was heading back to Buckingham Palace on the day the news was confirmed that her eldest grandson Peter Phillips has split from his wife Autumn.

He will be the first of her grandchildren to divorce.

The monarch stays in Sandringham each year over the Christmas period until after the anniversary of her accession on February 6 – also the anniversary of the death of her father, George VI.

This year, she reached her 68th year on the throne – and is only two years away from her platinum jubilee.

The Duke of Edinburgh, 98, who retired in 2017, remained behind in Sandringham.

The Queen alongside station manager Graeme Pratt at King’s Lynn railway station. Credit: PA

The duke now spends much of his time at Wood Farm, a farmhouse in Wolferton nestled in the far reaches of the estate, enjoying the sanctuary and privacy it offers.

He was in hospital for four nights just before Christmas for treatment relating to a “pre-existing condition”.

The Queen missed a planned meeting at her local Women’s Institute in January because of a slight cold.

But she was out and about last week, visiting RAF Marham, and also opening Wolferton’s new pumping station, which dries out the surrounding marshland for farming.

The Queen boards a train back to London. Credit: PA

In her Christmas Day message, the Queen acknowledged the “bumpy” path her family and the country had experienced during the past 12 months.

The Duke of York stepped down from royal duties in November following the fallout from his Newsnight interview over his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Despite turbulent times of late, the royals have a wedding to look forward to in 2020.

The Queen has given permission for her granddaughter Princess Beatrice and fiance Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi to hold their wedding reception at Buckingham Palace in May, after a ceremony in St James’s Palace’s historic Chapel Royal.