Although Prince Philip, 97, joined the royal family for Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace last week, he decided not to participate in the Christmas service at St. Mary Magdalene, a church on the Queen's Sandringham estate in Norfolk.
This is the first year we haven't seen the Duke of Edinburgh lead the annual walk (FYI, the Queen arrived by car as she usually does). There was speculation that Philip might meet the rest of the royal family inside the service where Prince George, 5, and Princess Charlotte, 3, are waiting for their parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and the rest of the royal family. But now it's being reported that he's not there at all.
According to Buckingham Palace, there's no cause for alarm, and he's just spending the holiday privately with the family. However, it's still a bit unusual for him to be missing such a big royal event. Prince Charles, Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, and Prince William were all spotted on the walk in without him.
Royal reporter Rebecca English explained via Twitter, "The Duke of Edinburgh, 97, is not at church today. BP tell me there is no cause for concern and no illness. He’s retired from public life and will be spending the day privately with his family."
Fans began speculating about the Duke's Sandringham attendance when he didn't arrive with the Queen by train last Thursday as he has done in previous years. He retired early last year and in April he also had extensive hip surgery, which forced him to cancel several appearances including Easter service with the royal family and Prince Louis' christening. He did, however, attend his granddaughter Princess Eugenie's wedding in October.
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