The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have returned to Windsor Castle together after leaving Sandringham ahead of England’s second national lockdown, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.
The couple had been apart since the 94-year-old monarch returned to Windsor Castle last month to resume her royal duties.
Prince Philip, 99, remained at Sandringham, where he was joined by Her Majesty for a long weekend, The Mail on Sunday revealed yesterday.
Their return to Windsor Castle together means the couple will be together for the second lockdown in England and their 73rd wedding anniversary on November 20.
The Queen and Prince Philip are set to reunite for England’s new lockdown and form a new ‘HMS Bubble’
‘Philip is keen to spend his anniversary with the Queen,’ the insider claimed.
‘They spent seven months together in HMS Bubble due to Covid-19 this year and have only been apart for a few weeks now.
‘It is also seen as a chance for staff at Sandringham to have a break so that they will feel better about working at Christmas. But Christmas is still up in the air.’
FEMAIL approached Buckingham Palace, but a spokesperson declined to comment.
Sandringham staff have previously complained that royal bubble restrictions have kept them away from their families due to the three-week shift pattern, plus seven days of quarantine.
When the Queen returned to Windsor alone at the start of October, the plan was for her to commute between Norfolk, Windsor and Buckingham Palace where she could have official engagements. Seemingly, however, that has proved unworkable, and her only Royal visit has been a trip to the Porton Down military research laboratory near Salisbury (pictured)
It is reportedly hoped that Prince Philip and the Queen both isolating at Windsor will help quell tension, after Sandringham estate workers revolted against a plan for them to stay in a coronavirus bubble there over Christmas.
A team of about 20 employees had been asked to remain on the monarch’s Norfolk estate without their families to support her, Prince Philip and other members of the Royal Family during the festive period.
But the group – said to involve cleaners, laundry and maintenance workers – are believed to have mutinied because they are unwilling to isolate from loved ones for four weeks.
The uprising means the Queen could be forced to spend Christmas at Windsor Castle for the first time in 33 years.
A royal source told The Sun: ‘The Queen is furious. The staff said enough is enough. It is absolutely unprecedented.
The couple, pictured in June 2018, have spent more time together in the past six months than since their early married life in Malta, where they lived simply in a villa from 1949 to 1951 – the only period when the Queen said she lived ‘normally’
‘Everybody wants to stay loyal but they feel they’ve been pushed too far by being made to isolate from their families for Christmas.
‘Discussions are taking place with the team on operational matters but it is too early to speculate on implications for Christmas.’
The Queen typically spends her winter break at Sandringham, travelling up after the Christmas party for extended family members at Buckingham Palace in December.
Until Covid struck, the modest farmhouse on the Norfolk estate had become Prince Philip’s main home following his retirement from formal royal duties in 2017.
However, he left in March to join the Queen at Windsor, where they spent four months with a specially screened household dubbed ‘HMS Bubble’.
The couple have spent more time together in the past six months than since their early married life in Malta, where they lived simply in a villa from 1949 to 1951 – the only period when the Queen said she lived ‘normally’.
The Queen and the Duke had a summer holiday at Balmoral in August, but spent less than half their normal 10 weeks in Scotland due to coronavirus restrictions there that limit visits from family and friends.
The Duke then wanted to return to Wood Farm and, in an unusual move, the Queen decided to join him before returning to Windsor last month.
Wood Farm has long been a favourite of the couple. The five-bedroom farmhouse brings back fond memories from their younger days, as the Queen cooks and the Duke does the washing-up.
The small number of staff there do not wear Royal livery, and it is still the one home where the Queen feels she can escape the pressures of monarchy.
When she returned to Windsor alone at the start of October, the plan was for her to commute between Norfolk, Windsor and Buckingham Palace where she could have official engagements.
Seemingly, however, that has proved unworkable, and her only Royal visit has been a trip to the Porton Down military research laboratory near Salisbury.