The Queen in red accepting flowers

Queen returns to London at end of her Christmas holidays this week

The Queen marks 6 February - the death of her father - in private at Sandringham

Emmy Griffiths

The Queen will finally be returning to Buckingham Palace this week after a long Christmas break. Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh enjoy an unusually festive holiday at Sandringham, and are known to keep their Christmas decorations up until 6 February every year some six weeks after Christmas Day. However, this is to mark a devastating day in the royal's life – the anniversary of the death of her father, King George VI, and the day she ascended to the throne aged just 26. The Queen always spends the date quietly and without taking part in any official events.

The Queen has enjoyed a long stay at Sandringham

Despite their extended stay at Sandringham, the Queen has still been hard at work, and paid a visit to the operating base of Britain's new stealth fighter jets on in early February. Speaking about her visit, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: "I'm delighted The Queen has seen what the future holds for the Royal Air Force, particularly as we celebrate a rich 100-year history of brave men and women protecting our skies." In fact, there are just two days in the year when her Majesty doesn't receive a red box from the government, containing documents that require her approval and signature - Christmas Day and Easter Sunday.

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The Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, spent Sunday at a service at St Peter and St Paul Church in West Newton, Norfolk, and are thought to be returning to London mid-week. It is a busy year for the pair; their grandson, Prince William, is expecting his third child with his wife, Kate, while two of their other grandchildren, Prince Harry and Princess Eugenie, will be tying the knot to their respective partners, Meghan Markle and Jack Brooksbank. Both couple will be exchanging vows at St. George's Chapel at Windsor.

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