If there’s one thing we know about Queen Elizabeth, it’s that she takes her holidays very seriously.
Among the favorite, and arguably most serious, of the royal holidays is Christmas. The royal family gathers at Sandringham, the Queen’s Norfolk getaway. There, they exchange gag gifts on Christmas Eve.
They’re up early the next morning, ready to attend mass at St. Mary Magdalene. After mass, they enjoy brunch together and later watch the Queen’s Christmas address to the nation.
It seems like a pretty sweet holiday, all things considered. But would you feel that way if it meant missing out on time with your own family?
Reports indicate the Queen’s staff are not in favor of the quarantining necessary to work the holiday. It would effectively guarantee they lose the whole month of December with their own families.
Considering how many have endured a degree of isolation since all the current safety regulations put in place, is asking for a holiday too much, even for the Queen?
Queen Elizabeth’s entire year has been derailed by the health crisis. The slowdown comes at a time where people had already been speculating there wasn’t much more time in her reign. Still, the Queen is determined to keep trucking along.
Her Majesty recently hit a little speed bump, however. Her favorite holiday tradition, Christmas at Sandringham, is in jeopardy due to staffing issues. The health crisis has necessitated a lot of particularly strict rules around the 94-year-old monarch and her 99-year-old husband.
In order for staff to work for the Queen during this time, they’d be required to work in a bubble. That would mean no leaving and seeing their families for about a month around the holidays. About 20 employees were asked to do this for the Queen’s holiday, and it seems like they aren’t willing.
“The Queen is furious,” a source told The Sun. Despite their devotion to the Queen, they’re drawing the line.
“The staff said enough is enough. It is absolutely unprecedented.”
If the staffers don’t agree to work, the Queen will be forced to change her plans for the first time in 33 years. It’s presumed she would then spend her holidays at Windsor Castle.
“Everybody wants to stay loyal, but they feel they’ve been pushed too far by being made to isolate from their families for Christmas,” the source said.
The group of workers includes cleaners, laundry workers, and other maintenance workers. There’s still some time to play with the idea, but not much.
“Discussions are taking place with the team on operational matters, but it is too early to speculate on implications for Christmas,” another source said.
Palace officials have already been making a lot of provisions for the Queen. A bubble was created to allow her to move between Windsor and Sandringham, so she and Prince Philip can see each other. Philip spends most of his time at Wood Farm on the Sandringham grounds as he enjoys his retirement.
If the UK’s rule of six continues, the Queen may be forced to rethink her plans on another front as well. She may have to slim down her guest list. It’s usually the entire extended royal family that attends Christmas at Sandringham, but it may have to be a more intimate gathering this year.
Even the Queen’s most immediate group is pretty big, however. Even if she only invites heirs, it would still be the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla, and the Cambridges. That’s 13 people in itself.
A lot of Brits are surprisingly annoyed at the Queen’s first-world problem. During a pandemic, they feel that she appears entitled and out-of-touch by making this into a big deal. There are so many people who are grappling with the complexities of this holiday season.