April 18 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, December 19, 2013
The Queen arrived at King’s Lynn’s newly-refurbished station just before 12.30pm, where a Range Rover was waiting for the final 10 miles of the journey to Sandringham.
Also expected are the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry, Prince Andrew and his daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie; the Princes Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence; Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall; Peter and Autumn Phillips and their daughter Savannah; the Count and Countess of Wessex and their children Lady Louise and Viscount Severn. There is also speculation Prince Harry’s girlfriend Cressida Bonas has been invited to Norfolk, for the Boxing day shoot on the estate. Most will arrive on Christmas Eve ahead of high tea.
This year is expected to be a special one as Prince George will join his extended family to celebrate Christmas for the first time. Whether the young prince will attend the Christmas Day service at the Church of St Mary Magdalen, on the Snadringham Estate, is uncertain but it is likely that there will an increase in well-wishers this year.
Interest in the service has risen in recent years with the peak in 2011 when the newly married Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended.
Some passengers did a double take as the unmistakable figure, clad in a checked grey jacket and head scarf, alighted from the train with the Duke of Edinburgh.
Earlier, there was speculation that the Queen would be leaving London for Norfolk this morning after the singer Adele received her MBE at Buckingham Palace from the Prince of Wales.
Security was tight at King’s Lynn station prior to her arrival, where a £2m “heritage refurbishment”, including part of the Victorian concourse known as the Royal Gate, is being carried out.
Passenger Jennifer Zorbaugh, 24, from Watlington, who was a passenger on board the train, said: “That’s really neat, it has made my day. I haven’t ever seen the Queen before only on TV.
“I’ve always really admired her, even when I lived in the United States, she does so much and works so hard even though parliament run the country. She’s such an amazing person.”
Betsy Gajdzik, manager of the station’s Country Line Buffet, said: “I went out in to the car park to see her. It’s always really nice to have her here. We are always really pleased that she comes. It’s exciting for everyone at the station.”
The 87-year-old Monarch arriving in King’s Lynn on a scheduled train from London King’s Cross has become a familiar sight in recent years.
Her estate boasted its own Royal Station, at Wolferton, until the King’s Lynn to Hunstanton line was closed in 1969.
A spokesman for First Capital Connect said: “We’re thrilled The Queen and Prince Philip chose once again to travel with First Capital Connect to begin their Christmas holiday at Sandringham. It is a real honour for the company and hugely exciting for the staff who were lucky enough to meet them.
“Her Majesty passed through our Grade II listed station at King’s Lynn which, with the help of the community, we have been refurbishing in a 1940s heritage style.
“We hope she liked what she saw, especially when she passed through the refurbished ‘Queen’s Gate’ side entrance.”
A first class single from London to King’s Lynn is £52, reduced to £34.50 with a senior railcard. But FCC said arrangements for her ticket - which is paid for - are made with the Royal Household and cannot be discussed.
After arriving in Lynn today, the Monarch was taken the last few miles up the A149 coast road to Sandringham by car.
The Queen arrives ahead of the rest of the family to oversee preparations for the festivities on her country estate.
She will begin by choosing a tree from Sandringham Sawmill, which younger members of the family will decorate.
Most Royal Family members arrive in Norfolk on Christmas Eve.