Queen Elizabeth II misses church due to 'heavy cold'

LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II missed a traditional New Year's Day church service Sunday because of the effects of a lingering cold.

Buckingham Palace said the queen "does not yet feel ready to attend church as she is still recuperating from a heavy cold." There was no indication she is suffering from a more serious illness.

It was unusual for Elizabeth not to attend the service, long part of her New Year's Day routine. The inclement weather may have been a contributing factor in her decision to stay indoors. It was cold with a steady rain in the Norfolk area 110 miles (175 kilometers) north of London where the queen maintains a private estate called Sandringham.

Elizabeth also missed the Christmas church service last week for the first time in decades. She is recuperating out of the public eye in one of her favorite homes.

The 90-year-old queen, the longest reigning monarch in British history, had earlier delayed her departure for Sandringham for the Christmas holidays because both she and her husband, Prince Philip, were suffering from intense colds.

She traveled one day later than planned and used a helicopter rather than a train to shorten the travel time.

Her prolonged illness has raised some concerns because colds and flus can be dangerous for elderly people. The queen has generally been in good health in recent years, although she has cut down somewhat on her traveling and public appearances.

Philip, 95, has also reduced his schedule, but managed to attend more than 100 public events in 2016.

He and other members of the royal family attended the New Year service Sunday at the church on the grounds of Sandringham estate.

Philip was driven to the church in a royal Range Rover. He used to arrive by foot when he was younger.

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