The Queen Has Canceled Her Christmas Lunch at Windsor "With Regret" Amid COVID Fears

Cases are surging in the U.K.

Queen Elizabeth
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Up until yesterday, the Queen was looking forward to hosting some 50 members of her family at Windsor Castle on Dec. 21 for her annual Christmas lunch.

However, with more than 78,000 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the U.K. on Dec. 15, the monarch has made the decision to cancel the event "with regret" as a "precaution." Royal sources told the Daily Mail, "there is a belief that it is the right thing to do for all concerned."

Hours before the cancelation was confirmed, royal expert Camilla Tominey said she didn't think the Queen would call the lunch off completely. "We thought the Queen was going to have a Christmas party for the extended family in Windsor on Tuesday, we think that's still going ahead," she explained on ITV's This Morning (via the Daily Mail).

"Then she's going to go to Sandringham for the traditional celebrations in Norfolk. But apparently now they're wavering, like we all are," Tominey added. "Maybe it's going to be about the guests and if people don't feel comfortable coming, that makes the decision for you."

As of Dec. 14, the Queen was holding firm on her plans for the lunch to go ahead. "It is Windsor Castle so it will be pretty easy to socially distance if needed," a source told The Sun. "There is no way the Queen wants to let anything get in the way of a family event like this."

The Christmas lunch was also canceled last year, when the Queen and Prince Philip spent a low-key last Christmas together at Windsor. This is the monarch's first Christmas without her late husband, who passed away in April.

The royal family is also still scheduled to celebrate Christmas at Sandringham, but those plans remain up in the air as the COVID situation evolves.

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.