Hundreds flock to Sandringham to see Queen attend church service

Hundreds of people braved the cold weather and dense fog to greet the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh as they attended a church service in Norfolk today.

Prince Philip was the first to appear from the fog as he set a good pace in leading a small group, including legendary racing driver Jackie Stewart, from Sandringham House to get to the service.

The sight of the 91-year-old royal, donning a long green coat, was greeted by applause as he strolled past around 300 people and dogs who lined part of the route.

The large crowd then turned their attention to the arrival of the Queen who travelled to St Mary Magdalene Church in a Bentley and children and their parents waved vigorously as her car arrived just before 11am.

The 86-year-old monarch then smiled and waved to the crowd before carefully walking up the short flight of steps leading to the church.

King's Lynn residents Josie Hyder and Rich Atkins took their six-month-old son Oliver to Sandringham to see the Queen attend the church service.

Miss Hyder said she was 'delighted' to have been able to see the Queen and Prince Philip and couldn't believe how close she was to the royal couple.

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She added: 'I was so excited that I was going to see the Queen that I barely slept last night.'

Meanwhile Eric Bauly and Roy Alston travelled from Suffolk to see the royal couple and guests enter and leave the Sandringham church.

Mr Bauly, from Stowmarket, said: 'I've been coming here to see the Queen go to church almost every year for 20 years.

'It all started after a friend of mine went and told me how nice it was. I went the following year and it's turned into a bit of an annual tradition for me.

'I think the royal family are the most important and most respected family in the world so to get the chance to see them so close is wonderful.'

Mr Alston, from Halesworth, added: 'The first time I came to this was 10 years ago. I saw the Queen Mother drive past me and she smiled and waved at me and I've been coming ever since.

'It's worth the five hour round trip and is something I look forward to at the start of every year.'

Following the service, led by the Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Rev Donald Allister, 20 children queued and waited patiently to give flowers to the Queen, who was wearing a matching lilac coat and hat.

Sarah Claydon and Owen Nicol also shared a joke with the Queen as she turned to return to her car to be driven back to Sandringham house for lunch.

The reigning monarch walked up to them as the couple's six-month-old daughter Daisy had a pose of flowers.

But as the Queen went to take them, Daisy kept a firm grip - much to the royal's amusement.

Miss Claydon said: 'She came up to us and thanked us for the flowers before smiling and saying she didn't think Daisy wanted to let go of the flowers.'

She added: 'It has been a lovely day. To be able to stand so close to the Queen was incredible.'

There was also laughter and applause as Prince Philip spoke to the crowd on his way back to Sandringham house for lunch.