London (AFP) – Queen Elizabeth II and her husband were finally heading for their Christmas getaway after being stuck in London with heavy colds, Buckingham Palace said Thursday.

The 90-year-old monarch, and Prince Philip, 95, were forced to delay their trip by a day because they felt too unwell on Wednesday for the train journey.


The royals traditionally spend Christmas at Sandringham, the monarch’s private country estate in Norfolk, eastern England.

On Christmas Day they traditionally head to Sandringham’s church — a rare chance for the public to see several members of the royal family at close quarters and chat with them, on their way in and out.

The monarch’s traditional broadcast to the Commonwealth on Christmas Day is pre-recorded, often weeks in advance.

Prince Philip spent Christmas 2011 in hospital where he underwent a coronary angioplasty after feeling unwell at Sandringham.

On Tuesday, Buckingham Palace said the queen would stand down as patron of 25 bodies including the Wimbledon tennis championships and the Rugby Football Union, handing over her duties to younger royals. [/restrict]