THE ROYAL family will not let the Queen spend her first christmas without Prince Philip alone, an expert has claimed.
The monarch, 95, has suffered from bouts of illness recently and has been forced to scrap her traditional trip to Sandringham, Norfolk, as the UK battles rapidly rising cases of the Omicron variant.
Last year the Queen spent the festive period shielding at Windsor Castle with her late husband Prince Philip.
This year she had hoped to celebrate the festive period at her favourite country retreat – as she has done for decades.
But instead, the monarch will stay at Windsor Castle for the second year running.
It is not yet known who, if anyone, will join her on December 25 as family members vow to keep the head of state safe.
But royal correspondent Katie Nicholls has said it's very unlikely she will spend her first Christmas without the Duke of Edinburgh, who died in April aged 99, completely alone.
She told True Royalty TV's The Royal Beat: “The idea the Queen will be on her own for Christmas without Philip, I simply cannot believe the family will allow to happen, I don't think it will happen.”
Meanwhile royal biographer Ingrid Seward said that Prince Andrew, 61, will “definitely be there, he is always at the Queen's side.”
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She also speculated that “maybe now Philip isn't there, Fergie will be too”.
It comes as the Duke of York's friendship with Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffery Epstein has come under intense scrutiny but he strenuously denies any wrongdoing.
On the subject, Katie added: "My understanding is she has had quite full and frank conversations with Andrew.
"He has assured her he is innocent and she has put her faith in him.
"I think the position she finds herself in is two fold really, there's a dichotomy. She's monarch and has had to make a decisions as a monarch.
"Difficult decisions in stripping her son of his duties and patronages and basically removing him from royal life and putting him into early retirement, given their closeness that must of been hard.
"But of course the other role she fulfils is the role of mother and we are seeing her standing by Andrew."
FESTIVE PARTY AXED
The Queen has already pulled the plug on her festive family party amid virus panic.
It was announced last week that it was "with regret" her annual royal get-together lunch in the run up to the big day would not be going ahead as planned – but that it was "the right thing to do".
The decision was described as "a precautionary one" as it was felt the festive lunch would "put too many people's Christmas arrangements at risk if it went ahead".
Buckingham Palace declined to comment further as it is a "private family event".
The Queen had been due to host The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, among 50 or so other members of the Royal Family, at Windsor Castle on December 21.
There was due to be wine, crackers and a feast inside the castle – before the monarch set off for Sandringham for the big day itself.
Tuesday's party had been moved from Buckingham Palace to Windsor where the Queen remains on “light duties” after health scares.
Three of her four new grandchildren — August, Lucas and Siena — all born this year, had been expected to join the party.
But US-based Prince Harry, Meghan, Archie and their daughter Lilibet, who was also born this year, were not scheduled to fly over for the bash.
Then following the cancellation, rumours spread that the royals were set to call off their traditional Christmas Day walkabout over fears it could become an Omicron super-spreader.
Thousands of royal watchers normally gather to greet members of the Firm during their annual December 25 stroll, with some queueing from the early hours of the morning to catch a glimpse of the royal clan.
But aides have reportedly advised the monarch to close the gates to her private grounds to curb coronavirus transmission, The Mirror reports.
In her Christmas broadcast, Her Majesty is expected to herald the indomitable spirit of the British people.
The source added: “The Queen believes we are all in this together and we should all abide by the public health guidelines to keep each other safe.”
The Sun is urging readers to sign up to the Jabs Army campaign to make the booster rollout as smooth and fast as possible.
A third shot is the best protection against Omicron, with early data suggesting it pushes efficacy back up to 75 per cent.
Dr Jenny Harries, UK Health Security Agency chief executive, said: "Once again, we urge everyone who is able to get a booster jab to come forward and do so.
"It is the best defence we have against this highly transmissible new variant."
Thousands of Brits have already signed up to the campaign, helping to dish out almost one million jabs in a single day in England.
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