Even though most people have removed their Christmas decorations, Sandringham still has the Christmas lights.
The house is decorated with glittering red and golden traditional baubles.
The dining area features a remarkable modernizing touch: an artificial silver tree with strings of tinsel suspended from it.
The decorations can be kept up to February 6th, thanks to Queen Elizabeth’s instructions.
Some will say that it’s bad luck – and the Queen has certainly had more than her fair share of that.
The decorations, according to those close to the monarch, are an intimation of her late father who passed away on February 6, 1952.
Sunday’s Mail reported that the Queen, in preparation for her father’s anniversary and her accession the Throne, will be making a special pilgrimage in Sandringham over the next few days. One said that everything was being prepared for Queen Elizabeth’s visit. “We have been informed that the Queen will be staying at Wood Farm rather than in her main residence.”
Although the Queen had stayed at the cottage in the past, this will be her first visit since Philip’s death. It is fitting therefore that she return to the cottage. (Above: The Sandringham Estate royal couple in 1982
These are an eloquent reminder of Queen Elizabeth’s duty to continue his work.
Through her entire reign, the spirit of King George VI (who died in Sandringham at 56) has guided her.
Today she is without Prince Philip and the 70th Anniversary of her father’s death draws near. She will miss him more than ever.
Although she normally spends Christmas at Sandringham, the Queen has remained at Windsor Castle since the autumn – a Covid precaution – where she held muted celebrations with close family, including the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.
The Mail has learnt that, in preparation for her father’s passing and her accession, the Queen will travel to Sandringham to make a special pilgrimage.
The young princesses Elizabeth, Margaret and George would ride around Sandringham with their father and mother to oversee the harvest. (Above, Elizabeth with her father, George VI, at Sandringham in 1943)
Staff were working on a cottage for the estate, according to sources last night.
“Everything is being set up for the Queen’s visit,” one stated. “We have been informed that the Queen will be staying at Wood Farm rather than his main residence, which is a nice decision, as Wood Farm has always held a special place within my heart.”
Although the Queen had stayed at the cottage in the past, this will be her first visit since Philip’s death. It is fitting therefore that she would return.
When Philip retired from public duties in 2017 at the age of 95 – the age of the Queen today – this was the place he called home.
He set out to make Wood Farm a retirement home with his usual enthusiasm. His day was filled with reading, writing, and painting as he managed a kitchen renovation project.
If she wasn’t in London on duty, the Queen would go up to the cottage with Philip. There, they were able to live more as a normal couple than ever before.
Dispensing with liveried servants, Philip had insisted that Wood Farm staff – a page, housekeeper, chef and footman – wore ordinary clothes.
When Philip retired from public duties in 2017 at the age of 95 – the age of the Queen today – Wood Farm cottage was the place he called home
Whether by helicopter or by car, the 140-mile journey from Windsor to Sandringham is one to be endured rather than enjoyed – particularly for a 95-year-old.
The decision to travel was not made lightly. It must also be understood that if she does not feel strong, it is a sign she is healthy.
In early November, the Queen visited Sandringham for the last time. She would normally have spent the weekend after Halloween at Sandringham with Philip and didn’t want to miss the occasion – the first since his death last April.
Buckingham Palace staff announced that the Queen was unable to take part in Remembrance Sunday’s parade at Cenotaph, due to a back strain’.
According to palace sources, the Queen felt ‘disappointed’. However, the idea of sitting for so long would have been impossible for any woman with her endurance.
However, before too much, the Queen was back on Duty, laughing about her role as a digital monarch via video call.
It is believed that rather than over Zoom the Queen will tape a TV address to Sandringham in celebration of her 70th year on the Throne.
Four days of celebrations and events will take place in June.
It is difficult for the Queen to remember her accession. It is a time of reflection, where she recalls her father.
At Sandringham, there will also be plenty of fond memories of ‘we four’, as the Queen’s father used to refer to his happy nuclear family – himself, his wife (the Queen Mother), Elizabeth and her sister Margaret.
These were joyful days. The Princesses Elizabeth & Margaret, both young girls, would visit Sandringham and ride their bikes around the estate to join their parents who were overseeing harvest.
At Sandringham, there will be plenty of fond memories of ‘we four’, as the Queen’s father used to refer to his happy nuclear family – himself, his wife (the Queen Mother), Elizabeth and her sister Margaret – all pictured, along with Philip
For the King, Lilibet – as he called her – was his ‘pride’, while the younger Margaret was his ‘joy’.
These memories are certain to be a part of her thoughts. There is an increase in public reference to her father.
According to a palace insider, there is an underlying feeling that her father did something during her reign. How would he respond to this? ‘
The Queen published a touching letter from her Papa shortly after she married Philip in 1949. It was released on her 2015 wedding anniversary. In it, the King stated that he saw her grow up with pride.
The Queen, in a similar fashion, has looked back at how her father managed events during his reign as monarch.
The Queen spoke on 2020’s anniversary of VE Day and recalled her father’s speech to the nation 75 year earlier.
A black and white photo of her with Philip and her father in Balmoral last Father’s Day in 1951 was published. It shows her watching a young Prince Charles sit on a statue in 1951.
She was less than a full year away from the photo when she ascended to the Throne, which was much earlier than she expected.
The father of her mother, who was a smoker, had fallen ill. However, it appeared that the operation to remove some of his lungs was successful.
Elizabeth married Philip, a dashing Greek prince, three years before. They certainly didn’t have any reason to cancel their planned trip to Kenya. What came next is well documented – and the Princess who flew to Africa returned to Britain as Queen.
This was not something she expected as she was the daughter of the second child.
After her uncle’s sudden abdication, it fell to the Duke and Duchess of York (as the Queen’s father at the time) to alter course and embrace a life full of duty with his wife, Elizabeth, and their young daughters, Margaret and John.
Their lives were as joyful and happy together as those of the Yorks. Elizabeth the Young would have never imagined she would be able to ascend the Throne and reign for 70 more years.
How proud she must have been when, years later on Prince Andrew’s wedding day, she was able to revive her childhood name by making her much-loved son the Duke of York – a title traditionally given to the second son of a monarch.
The Queen must be feeling a lot worse about having to take her son’s military honors away and ban him from using the HRH title.
On the 75th anniversary of VE Day 2020, Queen Elizabeth gave a broadcast which recalled her father’s speech to the nation 75-years earlier.
That a York could be demoted to the status not just of a private citizen but one facing lurid – and vehemently denied – claims of sexual abuse in a New York court just two generations after a York was elevated to Kingship, will be a source of not inconsiderable pain.
As a former palace aide said, “There are two versions” of the Queen. The monarch is one and the mother the other. If forced to make a choice, the duty of the Commonwealth and country must be taken first.
A palace source says that the institution “will always be first.” It was a sacrifice that the Queen made at her Coronation. She takes it very seriously.
While Andrew waits for his fate, Prince Harry finishes a telling-all autobiography that threatens with more damaging accusations against ‘the Firm.’ The Queen is now left with fewer advisors.
In the past, Queen Elizabeth would have sought out advice from Prince Philip (or at least one of her trusted ladies-in–waiting)
The Queen was hit hard by two more deaths in quick succession after Philip’s April death.
Diana Maxwell was Lady Farnham and the Dowager Dukes of Grafton died in a few weeks.
Andrew is still waiting for his fate while Prince Harry completes a telling-all autobiography that could lead to more damaging accusations against ‘the Firm.’ The Queen now has less advisers.
After the 2001 September 11 terrorist attacks, Queen Elizabeth II famously said: “Grief is the price that we pay to love.” This is something no one can deny.
That being said, Sandringham is more than an historic event. It won’t be just her father that will remain in her thoughts, but Philip.
He is now the same age she was at retirement, and it’s obvious that she misses him very much. Some of her close aides quietly discuss the future, after she had to cancel engagements, sometimes at the very last moment, due to unwell health.
Since the Sandringham decorations were not used this winter for enjoyment, it was only intended to be enjoyed by a dedicated team of staff members who care for the house and estate throughout the year. They may be able to feel a little more at ease as the end of an era is near.
“The contracts say that you are working for the Royal Family and not the institution,” he said.
The people who will receive notice of Charles’ arrival at the Throne will get only four weeks. Perhaps they will find jobs in the new system. It is something that no one likes to contemplate. While it may be on our minds, we don’t want to think about it.
There is already an effort underway to put the Jubilee’s Queen’s heir, Prince of Wales and his wife, the Duchesss of Cornwall, at the centre of the stage.
It is not difficult to imagine the Cambridges being a larger part of the overall picture. The Cambridges were not able to travel to Sandringham to meet the Queen, so they will be visiting their Norfolk home at Anmer Hall.
It is sure to be an uplifting experience for the Queen to visit William and his young families.
Her grandson and her discussions of the functioning of the monarchy are a regular part of her life. She recently called him up to discuss her concerns about helicopter travel.
She suggested that he only use helicopters when absolutely necessary.
For while Sandringham holds many memories of the past, the Queen’s focus is also on the future, whether it is supporting Charles by promoting his wife, Camilla – elevating her to the Order of the Garter – or expressing concerns for the safety of the second-in-line.
Other people who could damage the reputation and future viability of the institution were excluded from the plan.
Andrew and Harry are not allowed to call themselves “His Royal Highness” or represent the crown.
The Queen is not allowed to be sentimental, even though she remembers her husband and father among the decorations at Sandringham.