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The Queen makes a major move – without Prince Philip

The couple are set to celebrate their 73rd wedding anniversary

Gemma Strong

The Queen has returned to Windsor Castle following her stay at Sandringham, Buckingham Palace has confirmed. The monarch arrived at her Berkshire royal residence on Tuesday. She has not been joined by her husband.

Prince Philip remains at Wood Farm on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, where the 99-year-old has spent the majority of his retirement so far.

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The couple did spend lockdown together at Windsor Castle from March, before heading off to Balmoral together for their summer break. They then moved to Sandringham in recent weeks.

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The royals, who will celebrate their 73rd wedding anniversary next month, spent more time under the same roof during lockdown than they had for many years. Royal commentators described it as a chance for them to reconnect and the "perfect royal cocooning".

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Philip had mostly been in his Norfolk sanctuary since he retired in 2017, while the Queen was usually more than 100 miles away at Buckingham Palace or at Windsor carrying out her duties as head of state.

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The Queen and Prince Philip are set to celebrate their 73rd wedding anniversary

Buckingham Palace previously confirmed that it was Queen's intention to return to Windsor Castle in October. It added that the 94-year-old planned to "resume the use of Buckingham Palace during an autumn programme of audiences and engagements, in line with all relevant guidance and advice".

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Traditionally, the Queen takes up official residence at Windsor Castle for a month over Easter, and also stays for a week in June when she attends the service of the Order of the Garter and the Royal Ascot race meeting.

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St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle

Of course, Windsor holds a special place within the family as the site of numerous royal weddings, including that of Prince Edward and Miss Sophie Rhys-Jones in June 1999.

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In 2005 a service of dedication and prayer was held in St George’s Chapel following the marriage of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.

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Prince Edward and Sophie on their 1999 wedding day

Some 13 years later, Charles's youngest son Prince Harry married his wife Meghan Markle in the same venue, and most recently Princess Eugenie married her husband Jack Brooksbank in the historic chapel, in October 2018.

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