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The Queen to face poignant weekend as she breaks with royal tradition

Her Majesty is still residing at Windsor Castle

Ainhoa Barcelona

The Queen has a poignant weekend ahead of her as she will mark the death anniversary of her father King George VI on Saturday, and the anniversary of her accession to the British throne.

The monarch will mark the day in private with her husband Prince Philip, but in a big break with royal tradition, for the first time in over 30 years she will reflect on her father's death at Windsor Castle, where she has been residing during the pandemic.

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Her Majesty is usually at Sandringham House in Norfolk at this time of the year, wrapping up her extended Christmas break. The Queen is last believed to have been away from Sandringham for her accession anniversary 31 years ago in 1990 while she was on an official visit to New Zealand.

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It was at Sandringham that King George VI died peacefully in his sleep early on the morning of 6 February 1952, after suffering from lung cancer. His daughter, then Princess Elizabeth, was 25 at the time and away in Kenya on a Commonwealth tour. She returned from her trip as monarch.

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Buckingham Palace does not usually comment on the Queen's private plans, but in the past she has been visited by a vicar at Sandringham for private prayers in memory of her father. She may wish to do the same at Windsor; in England, churches are allowed to remain open for individual prayer and public worship.

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The Queen will mark her father's death anniversary and her accession to the throne this weekend

The Queen is just one year away from celebrating 70 years on the throne, her Platinum Jubilee. The past 12 months have been an extraordinary time in her reign. On top of the global pandemic, on a personal note, the monarch has seen her grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan step away from royal life.

She has also spent much of lockdown at Windsor Castle, instead of splitting her time between Windsor, Buckingham Palace and Sandringham. She and Prince Philip have been isolating with a small number of staff dubbed HMS Bubble.

Plans are already underway to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee next year. The UK government has already announced an extra bank holiday in 2022 resulting in a four-day weekend of celebrations from June 2 to 5. Traditional street parties are expected to take place as well as state-of-the-art displays and spectacular pageantry.

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