Palace reveals why Duchess of Cornwall missed the Queen's Christmas party

The royal family celebrated early at Buckingham Palace

The royals were out in full force to attend the Queen's pre-Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, but there was one family member who was noticeably missing – the Duchess of Cornwall. Prince Charles was pictured arriving alone in a chauffeur-driven car, while his wife was nowhere to be seen.

A spokesperson from their household Clarence House has confirmed that Camilla, 71, missed the lunch due to a heavy cold. She has also cancelled an appearance at the Olympia Horse Show on Wednesday evening.

Prince Charles arrived at the Queen's party alone

The Duchess was last seen in public on Friday when she paid a visit to an airbase near Chippenham to officially open it in her role as patron of Wiltshire Air Ambulance. The royal thanked staff and described how she has seen first-hand the work of flying paramedics.

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Praising the work that emergency service personnel do, Camilla revealed: "I have known friends that have literally been saved by it. Even in Yorkshire my granddaughter was taken off in the Yorkshire [air ambulance], one year, and luckily she was sorted and alright, but it gave my daughter such confidence to be aboard it."

Meghan joins the Queen for her first royal Christmas:

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While Camilla was recovering at home, the rest of the royal family enjoyed a luncheon less than a mile away at Buckingham Palace. Prince Philip, 97, was seen arriving at his London home, having come from Windsor. Prince William and Kate, and their two elder children Prince George and Princess Charlotte, were also spotted in another car with the children's nanny Maria Turrion Borrallo.

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Prince Harry and his pregnant wife Meghan arrived just before the Cambridges in a separate car, while Prince Andrew, Princess Beatrice, Mike and Zara Tindall, and the Countess of Wessex and her teenage daughter Lady Louise Windsor were also among the royal attendees.

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