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Royal Family’s Boxing Day tradition could be loophole for spending Christmas together

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Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, won’t be able to go ahead with their normal Christmas plans at Sandringham this year, where they have spent every festive period since 1988. Instead, they will celebrate “quietly in Windsor”. A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: “Having considered all the appropriate advice, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh have decided that this year they will spend Christmas quietly in Windsor.”

However, it’s not all bad news as the Government has put plans in place to enable increased mixing over Christmas.

Under the restrictions, Brits will be able to form a Christmas ‘bubble’ with up to three households, alongside who they can celebrate the festivities with.

Among those rumoured to be in the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s Christmas bubble are Prince Edward, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and their two children, Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.

One source said: “Prince Edward and his family will be one of the two in her [The Queen’s] bubble.”

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But, one loophole in the rules means the royals could still get together and see each other outside of the bubbles, enabling the whole family to congregate at once.

Senior royals are expected to join the Queen in the annual Boxing Day shoot, a Christmas tradition which has been going back decades.

Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Wessexes have all been known to be in attendance.

And while the ‘rule of six’ normally applies to gatherings outdoors and indoors, the Government has made an exception for shoots.

Countryside Alliance writers: “In all Tier areas, organised outdoor sport and physical activity (including shooting) can continue.

“Current guidance does not suggest that such activity will be subject to gathering limits (the ‘rule of six’).”

This will undoubtedly come as good news for the royals, as it’s their one, special tradition that hasn’t been affected by the ongoing pandemic.

Since the shoot can go ahead, up to 30 royals can engage in the activity.

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Speaking to the Daily Mail, one source said: “Their traditional Boxing Day shoot could still take place, enabling hem to see members of the family unable to join them on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.”

The event would be particularly appealing to Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, who usually leave right after the shoot to spend the remainder of the holidays with Camilla’s own children.

If it wasn’t for the shooting exemption, the Duchess would be prohibited from seeing them if she wasn’t in the Queen’s Christmas bubble.

The same applies to Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, who usually spend some of the festive season with the Middletons.

Royal editor Rebecca English said: “A source tells me that the Queen and Duke feel ‘fortunate’ to spend Christmas with their family every year and understand this year will be different.

“Like everyone they hope things will get back to normal in 2021.

“All the indications are that while they may see some family members, it will be quite a solitary Christmas for the Queen and Prince Philip this year.

“The couple understand their family will have ‘competing demands’.”

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