The Queen is feeling “better” despite being too ill to attend church, her daughter Princess Anne reportedly told well-wishers yesterday.
The Queen was forced to abandon plans to join her family for the New Year’s Day service at St Mary Magdalene church at Sandringham, Norfolk, as she continues to recuperate from a lingering cold.
Asked how her mother was as she walked from Sandringham House to the church, Princess Anne reportedly told onlookers “better”.
Her husband, Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, who accompanied the Princess Royal, added that the Queen was feeling “not too bad”.
The Duke of Edinburgh, recovered from his own cold, was well enough to brave a chilly and damp day to attend the ceremony, led by the Bishop of Norwich.
He was driven to the service in a Range Rover with the Countess of Wessex. Other members of the Royal Family walked to the church from the Sandringham estate in drizzly conditions.
The service, also attended by Prince Edward and his family, lasted just under an hour.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were not present after they, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, spent Christmas with Kate’s family at Bucklebury in Berkshire.
The Queen came down with a cold a few days before Christmas, forcing her to delay her trip to the Norfolk estate and to miss the Christmas Day church service, though she is understood now to be up and about.
A Palace spokeswoman said: “Her Majesty The Queen will not attend Sunday worship at Sandringham. The Queen does not yet feel ready to attend church as she is still recuperating from a heavy cold.”
Meanwhile, in his New Year message, the Archbishop of Canterbury urged Britons to reconcile the divisions cleaved by the “tough” EU referendum campaign. Brexit would “profoundly” affect the country’s future, but its citizens should look to examples from Britain’s past for a route towards social harmony, the Most Rev Justin Welby said.
His message came after former Ukip leader Nigel Farage criticised as “negative” the archbishop’s Christmas Day sermon, which did not mention Brexit.
Mr Welby said: “The EU referendum was a tough campaign and it has left divisions. But I know that if we look at our roots, our history and our culture in the Christian tradition, if we reach back into what is best in this country, we will find a path towards reconciling the differences that have divided us.
“If we are welcoming to those in need, if we are generous in giving, if we take hold of our new future with determination and courage – then we will flourish.”
Pope Francis used his New Year greeting to pray for those courageously dealing with the terrorism gripping the world in “fear and bewilderment”.
“The new year will be good in the measure in which each of us, with the help of God, tries to do good, day by day, that’s how peace is created,” he said.
Some 50,000 people gathered in St Peter’s Square for his noon blessing and New Year’s Day remarks.
Francis advised people to “say no to hate and violence and yes to brotherhood and reconciliation”.