The heartbreaking reason why the Queen is spending her birthday at Sandringham

The fact Her Majesty is travelling to the Norfolk estate at all has been described as a “positive step” amid ongoing concerns about her health

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The fact Her Majesty is travelling to the Norfolk estate at all has been described as a “positive step” amid ongoing concerns about her health

Tomorrow is the Queen’s 96th birthday. Naturally, plans are afoot for a royal family celebration this weekend. 

Just like the rest of us, the Queen has chosen to spend her birthday in the way that feels most meaningful to her. 

According to the Mirror, she's decided to travel from Windsor to the family’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk, as it is here that she feels closest to her late husband Prince Philip

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Prince Philip and the Queen were married for over 70 years

In the final years of his life, Prince Philip spent most of his time at Sandringham after retiring in 2017. Rather than staying at Sandringham House itself, he preferred living in a more modest five-bedroom farmhouse on the estate, called Wood Farm.

It’s been said the Duke of Edinburgh spent his time reading, painting with watercolours and entertaining friends during his years on the farm. He also started growing organic produce, and took great pride in managing the estate grounds. 

Her Majesty is due to stay at Wood Farm herself this weekend, where she’ll be joined by royal family members to celebrate her birthday. 

“The Queen decided very recently that on her birthday she wanted to be as close as possible to her late husband and in an environment that was very close to both of their hearts,” a royal source told the Mirror

They continued: “Sandringham holds so many special memories for the Queen and Prince Philip as well as the rest of the royal family.”

The Queen’s birthday comes as concerns about her health are swirling, due to her ongoing mobility issues. In fact, the Queen's poor health has led her to recently cancel or miss several high-profile events. In light of this, the royal source added that Her Majesty’s “mini-break” to Sandringham was a “positive step”. 

According to the Palace, the Queen is taking each day as it comes and should “not be expected” to attend any public events from now on. The plan is she’ll “make a decision on the day” for each upcoming engagement according to how well she is feeling. 

It’s a big year for the Queen, with multiple celebrations planned for her Platinum Jubilee this summer. We hope she has a happy and restorative birthday surrounded by her loved ones this weekend.

Kate Hollowood
Kate Hollowood is a freelance journalist and writes about a range of topics for Marie Claire UK, from reports on royal news and current affairs to features on health, careers and relationships. Based in London, Kate has also written for titles like the i paper, Refinery29, Cosmopolitan and It’s Nice That.