UK's Queen Elizabeth cancels pre-Christmas family lunch at Windsor

The traditional gathering has now been cancelled for the second year running

Queen Elizabeth II has cancelled her pre-Christmas family lunch as a precaution. Getty.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has cancelled her traditional pre-Christmas family party next week amid concerns about the Omicron variant.

A Buckingham Palace source confirmed to the Press Association the decision to call off the royal gathering, which has now been cancelled for two years in a row.

It is understood the decision was a precaution with the source suggesting it could put too many people’s Christmas arrangements at risk if it went ahead.

The Queen is still carrying out only light duties, including virtual and the occasional in-person audiences, after being ordered to rest by royal doctors and spending a night in hospital for tests on October 20. On Wednesday, the Queen hosted the Sultan of Oman at Windsor.

Plans were reportedly fully in place at Windsor Castle for next Tuesday’s Christmas lunch, which the 95-year-old monarch hosts each year for her extended family.

Most years, the queen invites her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to join her at Buckingham Palace before she departs for her annual Christmas stay at Sandringham.

The palace is undergoing major renovation works at present.

The pre-Christmas celebration gives the head of state a chance to catch up with relatives who are unable to travel to Norfolk for Christmas Day.

It comes as Britain reported 88,000 infections on Thursday, its highest number of new cases since the pandemic began.

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The wider family is also usually invited, including the Queen’s cousins the Gloucesters, the Duke of Kent and the Michaels of Kent.

This Christmas is the Queen’s first since the death of her husband of 73 years, the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Queen and Philip spent Christmas Day together at Windsor in 2020, without the rest of the family, after spending most of the year being cared for by a reduced number of staff in what was dubbed HMS Bubble.

She has only been carrying out light duties since October 20 when concerns for her health were heightened after royal doctors ordered her to rest and she spent a night in hospital undergoing tests.

Updated: December 16th 2021, 7:40 PM