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Prince Philip and Queen: Royal insider lifts lid on couple’s Wood Farm stay

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Queen Elizabeth II, 94, and Prince Philip, 99, traditionally spend their summers at Balmoral but this year their Scottish holiday was cut short. The couple left Balmoral early to travel to Wood Farm on the Queen’s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk.

A Buckingham Palace statement about the move said: “The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will depart Balmoral Castle during the week commencing September 14 to spend time privately on the Sandringham Estate.

“Subject to the finalisation of the autumn programme, Her Majesty’s intention is to return to Windsor Castle in October and to resume the use of Buckingham Palace for selected audiences and engagements.

“These plans will be kept under review and will, of course, be subject to all relevant guidance and advice.”

Wood Farm is a five-bedroom cottage in Sandringham’s grounds and is where Philip has spent most of his time since retiring from public life in 2017.

The Duke of Edinburgh will not have been back at Wood Farm since March when he relocated to Windsor Castle to spend lockdown with the Queen.

While the reason for the couple’s stay at Wood Farm has not been confirmed it is understood they will be able to enjoy their time there in complete privacy.

Former royal chef Darren McGrady acknowledged the couple’s arrival in Norfolk with an insightful tweet.

Mr McGrady reminisced on his times working as a chef at Wood Farm and shed light on how the royals operate when there.

Mr McGrady wrote: “The Queen and Duke are at Wood Farm. I used to love it there.

“It’s so small you get to interact with them every day, rattle pans and play with the corgis!

“And when The Queen looks into the kitchen after a busy week and says ‘Thank you’ you can’t get a bigger compliment than that.”

The Queen is said to approve of Philip’s decision to be based at Wood Farm more or less full time.

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The Duke of Edinburgh is able to enjoy a peaceful retirement there and is said to spend his time going for walks in the ground and watercolour painting.

Buckingham Palace has traditionally been the Queen’s main base but it was decided she should switch to Windsor Castle during the coronavirus pandemic.

Given that London was a hotspot for coronavirus at the height of the pandemic it is understood the decision was made to ensure the Queen’s safety going forward.

While Philip and the Queen welcomed royal guests at Balmoral including Princess Eugenie, Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, it is unclear whether they will receive visits at Wood Farm.

Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William’s country home Anmer Hall is just up the road from Sandringham but the couple returned to London with their children ahead of the autumn term restarting.

The Queen and Philip will likely enjoy some peaceful days together in Norfolk before the Queen resumes royal duty in Windsor next month.

The Royal Family usually come together for Christmas at Sandringham every year.

New restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 including the Government’s restriction on gatherings of more than six people could radically change the Queen’s Christmas plans.

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