Queen Elizabeth cancels traditional pre-Christmas lunch as cases surge in England.


LONDON — Prime Minister Boris Johnson requested Britons on Wednesday to assume twice about vacation socializing as the Omicron variant rampages by the nation. A day later, Queen Elizabeth II canceled her annual pre-Christmas lunch for the royal household, in keeping with folks with connections to Buckingham Palace.

The queen’s choice to name off the lunch for the second yr in a row comes as Britain reported a record 78,610 new infections from the virus on Wednesday. Palace officers mentioned it was a precautionary measure to keep away from placing relations in danger by bringing a big group collectively at Windsor Castle.

The pre-Christmas meal is a longstanding custom for the House of Windsor, assembling youngsters, grandchildren, cousins and different members of the prolonged household earlier than the queen leaves for Sandringham, her nation property in Norfolk, the place she celebrates the vacation along with her rapid household.

Elizabeth, 95, has largely receded from public view since October, when she abruptly canceled a visit to Northern Ireland after what palace officers characterised as exhaustion. She has continued to conduct video calls and taped a speech to welcome delegates to the United Nations’ local weather convention in Scotland.

The queen sequestered herself inside Windsor Castle along with her husband, Prince Philip, for the primary yr of the pandemic. When Philip died in April, coronavirus restrictions pressured the queen to grieve alone in a choir stall at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor, saved aside from different members of her household.

But the queen ventured again onto the general public stage after that, welcoming leaders to the Group of seven summit in Cornwall and enjoying host to President Biden and his spouse, Jill, at Windsor Castle in June. She was a spry presence at these occasions, although palace officers mentioned she overdid it and have become fatigued.

The royal household’s vacation celebrations have been already going to be lacking key members: Prince Harry and his spouse, Meghan, as nicely as their youngsters, Archie and Lilibet, usually are not anticipated to journey from their house in Montecito, Calif., to Britain for Christmas.

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