Britain's Queen Elizabeth to miss Christmas church service due to "heavy cold"


LONDON, Dec 25 (Reuters) - Britain's Queen Elizabeth, 90, will miss a traditional Christmas church service on Sunday for the first time in nearly 30 years due to a heavy cold, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said.

Elizabeth, the world's longest-reigning living monarch, and her husband Prince Philip, 95, suffered what the Palace described as heavy colds this week that delayed by a day their journey to their Sandringham country residence in eastern England.

They traveled instead by helicopter on Thursday. Elizabeth has attended the Christmas service at the parish church of St Mary Magdalene in Sandringham every year since 1988.

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"Her Majesty The Queen will not attend Church at Sandringham this morning. The Queen continues to recover from a heavy cold and will stay indoors to assist with her recovery," a Palace spokesman said.

"Her Majesty will participate in the Royal Family Christmas celebrations during the day," the Palace said.

After more than six decades on the throne, the Queen has cut back on international tours but still regularly performs official duties around Britain, although she said on Tuesday she would reduce the number of her patronages. (Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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