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Prince Philip, 97, and Duchess of Cornwall miss Christmas Day church service

The Queen's husband and Prince Charles' wife opted to stay at home

Ainhoa Barcelona

The royal family were out in full force to attend the traditional Christmas Day church service at Sandringham, but two members were noticeably missing – Prince Philip and the Duchess of Cornwall. A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said there was no need for concern for the 97-year-old Duke, who is in good health and will spend the day relaxing privately with his family. Philip has been seen less frequently in public following his retirement in the summer of 2017, although he does usually attend big family events.

Prince Charles' wife Camilla, meanwhile, has been suffering from a cold and missed an appearance at the Olympia Horse Show last week. She is believed to be still recovering from the bug.

The Queen attended church without her husband Prince Philip

Prince Charles, Prince William and Kate, and Prince Harry and Meghan led the way and made the short walk from Sandringham House to St Mary's Magdalene Church, which is also on the Queen's estate. Her Majesty, 92, was driven in a car alongside her son the Duke of York. The royals attended the hour-long church service at Sandringham where they were greeted by hundreds of fans who had braved the cold and stood patiently to see the family arrive. Many had brought bouquets of flowers or had got in the Christmas spirit by wearing Santa hats.

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After the service, the royals conducted a mini walkabout, greeting fans and wishing them a happy Christmas. Prince Philip will no doubt be ready to celebrate Christmas with the family later on Tuesday afternoon. The royals usually sit down for a big festive lunch, after which they gather around the TV to watch the Queen's speech at 3pm.

Prince Charles arrived without his wife Camilla

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In April, the Duke underwent a hip operation but he has been walking unaided since and has also been pictured carriage driving around Windsor – where he spends most of his time – recently. At the time of his retirement, the palace stressed that the Duke's decision was not health-related, and that he would, on occasion, still attend events with the Queen.

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