When Was The Last Time Queen Elizabeth Spent Christmas Without Prince Philip?

Christmas celebrations will look a lot different for Queen Elizabeth this year. The British monarch has been forced to cancel Christmas at Sandringham for the second year in a row because of concerns over COVID-19 — this year, due to the Omicron variant, according to CNN. Instead, Elizabeth will celebrate Christmas at Windsor Castle, where the queen has spent most of her time this year away from work and engagements. People reports that other family members of the royal family will visit her over the Christmas holiday and she is currently keeping a "tight bubble" of staff around her.

This Christmas is also the first time in a long time she'll celebrate without Prince Philip by her side. The Duke of Edinburgh died in April at age 99 after battling health issues related to old age, making 2020 the last time they quietly celebrated the holidays together. However, Elizabeth has had experience spending Christmas without him before — but for a much different reason.

The time Queen Elizabeth celebrated Christmas with her kids and not Prince Philip

Queen Elizabeth spent Christmas apart from Prince Philip in 1965 after the latter boarded a three month voyage on Royal Yacht Britannia, during which he helped open the Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia, according to People. Elizabeth did not accompany him on the trip and spent the holidays with her eldest children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne.

Even though the royal couple were apart, Prince Philip still managed to surprise Elizabeth with a call on board the yacht. Elizabeth then recalled the sweet moment in her 1956 Christmas Broadcast. "Of all the voices we have heard this afternoon, none has given my children and myself greater joy than that of my husband," Elizabeth said in her annual Christmas speech. "To him I say: 'From all the members of the family gathered here today our very best good wishes go out to you and to everyone on board Britannia, as you voyage together in the far Southern seas. Happy Christmas from us all.'"

She added it was "sad" for them to be separated at Christmas, but "we look forward to the moment when we shall all again be together." And they kept their promise of celebrating Christmas together up until Philip's death. 

As for this year's Christmas, as relatives like Prince William, Kate Middleton, and their children will visit the queen, one other crucial member will be absent: Prince Harry. Despite the prince's strong desire to see the queen for the holiday, he, wife Meghan Markle, and their two children will be staying in California for Christmas.