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The Queen cancels pre-Christmas family lunch 'with regret'

The decision is understood to be a precautionary one

The Queen has cancelled her pre-Christmas lunch with her family this year.

The monarch, 95, had been due to host extended members of her family at a gathering at Windsor Castle next Tuesday.

It is understood that decision is a precautionary one as it's felt that too many people's Christmas arrangements would be put at risk if it went ahead. Royal sources say that while there is "regret that it is cancelled, there is a belief that it is the right thing to do for all concerned".

It is the second year in a row that the Queen has had to cancel her traditional lunch, after last year's pandemic restrictions.

READ: Why the royal family open their presents on Christmas Eve

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Traditionally the gathering takes place at Buckingham Palace, but the monarch had instead organised for the family catch-up to be held at Windsor Castle as her London residence is undergoing renovation works.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children, alongside Princess Eugenie, Princess Beatrice, and Mike and Zara Tindall have all been spotted arriving at the palace gates through the years.

The wider family is also usually invited, including Her Majesty's cousins – the Gloucesters, the Duke of Kent and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.

MORE: Princess Charlene misses Christmas tradition with Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella

MORE: Crown Princess Mary's Christmas plans uncertain after testing positive for COVID-19

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The Cambridges attending the Queen's Christmas lunch in 2019

Last year, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh spent Christmas at Windsor Castle for the first time in 33 years.

The monarch will reportedly travel to her Sandringham estate next week for the festive period, but her plans are yet to be confirmed by the palace.

This Christmas is Her Majesty's first since the death of her husband of 73 years, the Duke of Edinburgh, in April.

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