Royals reunited after months apart
After almost a year apart, the British Royal Family have enjoyed a happy reunion.
On Tuesday evening local time, the Queen was joined on the steps of Windsor Castle by Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Anne, and Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex as part of an event to thank essential workers and volunteers from the area.
As part of the festive celebration, the family enjoyed Christmas carols performed by the local Salvation Army Band before moving into a marquee to thank volunteers and workers who will work throughout the festive period.
Noticeably absent from the reunion was the Queen's third son, Prince Andrew, who retired from public duty last year after allegations about his friendship with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein resurfaced.
99-year-old Prince Philip was also absent, having retired from royal duties in 2017.
🎶 🎺 This evening, members of the Royal Family enjoyed Christmas songs played by a @salvationarmyuk band during an event at Windsor Castle to thank local volunteers and key workers. pic.twitter.com/B9aKq8a66Z— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) December 8, 2020
Throughout the pandemic, members of the royal family have continued to carry out royal duties individually, but the family has not been altogether since March, when they attended Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey, which was Prince Harry and Meghan's last formal royal engagement before stepping down.
The Queen, 94, also attended the wedding of her granddaughter, Princess Beatrice, in July, but other members of the family were not in attendance.
The Queen appeared delighted to see her family again, seen singing along to Christmas carols and chatting with Prince William and Kate, who have just completed a royal tour of the United Kingdom by train.
During the Duke and Duchess's three-day trip, the couple travelled over 2000 kilometres, visiting Edinburgh, Cardiff, Bath, and Manchester among other cities.
On Sunday, the couple said they wanted "to pay tribute to the incredible work of individuals and organisations that have gone above and beyond in response to the coronavirus pandemic."
Both Prince Charles and Prince William tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this year, but have since recovered.
The Queen thanked the band for their performance, as well as for the wider work of the Salvation Army during the pandemic and over the Christmas period. pic.twitter.com/zJne5BMPjV— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) December 8, 2020
Due to their age and the growing wave of new COVID-19 outbreaks across the UK, the Queen and Prince Philip announced they would break their decades-long tradition of spending Christmas at their Sandringham estate, and instead celebrate separately.
"Having considered all the appropriate advice, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have decided that this year they will spend Christmas quietly in Windsor," a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said in a statement following the news.
Traditionally, the large family meets at Sandringham to partake in a multi-day celebration that begins with a present exchange of homemade on Christmas Eve, following by a Christmas Day church service and at the nearby St. Mary Magdalene Church (and partaking in the annual Christmas Day walkabout), watching the Queen's annual Christmas message, and finally, a Boxing Day pheasant shoot.
🎄 The family spoke to local volunteers and key workers from organisations and charities in Berkshire, who will be volunteering or working to help others over the— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) December 8, 2020
Christmas period. pic.twitter.com/1vljj9yiHd
This year, the Queen and Prince Philip will stay on at Windsor Castle, where they have spent the majority of this year.
Prince William and Kate have not yet announced what their plans for Christmas Day are, but royal insiders believe they may spend the year with the Duchess's parents at the Middleton's Berkshire estate, or at the couple's country home of Anmer Hall in Norfolk.
Originally published as Royals reunited after months apart