As the UK leaves the EU at 11pm on Friday, it's business as usual for the Queen, who will be going through official documents in her daily red boxes. The 93-year-old monarch will remain in Sandringham, her private estate in Norfolk, as UK prime minister Boris Johnson holds a cabinet meeting in Sunderland.
The Queen usually remains in Norfolk until 6 February – the anniversary of her father King George VI's death. It also marks the 68th year of her reign, making her the fourth longest-reigning monarch in the world.
The Queen attends church in Sandringham
Her Majesty will carry out her first official public engagements of 2020 next week, visiting RAF Marham in King's Lynn on Monday 3 February in her capacity as Honorary Air Commodore of the station. Then on Wednesday 5 February, the Queen will open the new Wolferton Pumping Station, also in King's Lynn, which protects the local area from flooding. George VI opened the original pumping station in 1946, accompanied by his mother Queen Mary and his youngest daughter Princess Margaret. The Queen was forced to cancel her annual meetup with the Sandringham Women's Institute last week, as she was suffering from a cold.
The start of her winter break in Norfolk was delayed slightly, due to the UK general election in December. The monarch carried out her second State Opening of Parliament within the space of a couple of months, but it was a more casual affair. The Queen did not wear the full ceremonial regalia like she did in October 2019, instead opting for an aqua-coloured day coat and matching hat.
The Queen at the State Opening of Parliament in December
The Queen released one of her most personal statements to date this month, following the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's decision to step back as senior members of the royal family. In her statement, Her Majesty said: "Following many months of conversations and more recent discussions, I am pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family.
"Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family. I recognise the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life.
WATCH: The Queen arriving in Sandringham for her Christmas break
"I want to thank them for all their dedicated work across this country, the Commonwealth and beyond, and am particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family. It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life."
Prince Harry and Meghan will no longer use their HRH status and will no longer represent the Queen under the agreement reached by all four royal households. They will continue to support their private patronages and have agreed to repay the £2.4million of taxpayers' money spent on refurbishing Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their UK home. The Sussexes are currently living in Canada with their baby son Archie, as they prepare to carve out their future roles.
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