Queen opens up about ‘bumpy’ year

 

The Queen will acknowledge her family's "bumpy" year in the annual Christmas Day message, as the royals revel in some rare luck and welcome back Prince Philip for the festive break.

The ailing Duke of Edinburgh finally left hospital on Tuesday morning to be at his wife's side on their private Sandringham estate.

The 98-year-old looked in good spirits and walked without a stick as he left Prince Edward Hospital, thanking nurses and doctors before he left.

He had been flown in via helicopter earlier this week to the London infirmary as a precautionary measure for what Buckingham Palace called a "pre-existing condition."

Prince Philip leaves hospital in London, on his way to join the royal family at Sandringham. Picture: AP
Prince Philip leaves hospital in London, on his way to join the royal family at Sandringham. Picture: AP

The Duke has thanked everyone has wished him well as he battled another illness.

"The Duke of Edinburgh has today left hospital after being discharged by his Doctor and is now back at Sandringham," a Buckingham Palace spokesman said.

"His Royal Highness would like to thank everyone who sent their good wishes."

He has now joined the rest of the family - minus Prince Harry and Meghan - for Christmas.

It is not known if he will be well enough to make tomorrow's traditional church service at Sandringham.

 

Prince Philip has thanked well wishers as she was discharged from hospital. Picture: AP
Prince Philip has thanked well wishers as she was discharged from hospital. Picture: AP

 

In her annual Christmas message, the 93-year-old Queen will reflect on reconciliation and forgiveness in her speech on Christmas Day.

Her message follows a year where her grandson Harry has drifted away from the family, her son Andrew has disgraced the monarchy, and Philip has been beset by illnesses and a car-crash earlier in the year.

"Small steps taken in faith and in hope can overcome long-held differences and deep-seated divisions to bring harmony and understanding," the Queen will say at Christmas.

"The path, of course, is not always smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of difference."

The message is also set to highlight the "core monarchy".

 

Prince Philip will make it home in time for Christmas. Picture: AP
Prince Philip will make it home in time for Christmas. Picture: AP

Only pictures of the late King George VII, Philip, Prince Charles and Camilla, Prince William and Kate are seen on her desk.

Prince Philip is driven away from a London hospital by minders. Picture: AP
Prince Philip is driven away from a London hospital by minders. Picture: AP

Any photos of Harry and Meghan are out of the camera's frame.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their baby son Archie have escaped the Sundrignham Royal Christmas to spend time in Canada with the Duchess's mother Doria Ragland.

The Duke of Sussex has spoken publicly this year of his rift with his older brother William and his desire to keep his young family away from the media spotlight.

But The Sun reports that some royals have urged the couple to return to Britain to spend Christmas with the ailing Prince Philip and show unity after a rocky year for the family.

And there is no evidence of the Duke of York's existence in The Queen's Christmas office.

She was forced to sack her son from royal duties earlier this year after a car-crash interview in which he denied having sex with a sex slave of notorious paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

The disgraced Andrew has been widely ridiculed for his extraordinary claims he could never have met Epstein victim Viriginia Roberts Giuffre because he is unable to sweat - as she claimed - due to a war wound and he took his daughter to a Pizza Epress the night in question.

The Duke was later flown by helicopter to Sandringham. Picture: AP
The Duke was later flown by helicopter to Sandringham. Picture: AP

Andrew's role at the Sandringham Christmas is unknown, but he will not be joining his family for New Years at their $25 million Verbier ski lodge.

The Queen will also use the Christmas Day Message to look back to recent big anniversaries such as 75 years since the D-Day landings which led to the liberation of Western Europe from the Nazis.

The Queen attended the D-Day commemorations in France earlier this year alongside Donald Trump, Scott Morrison and then-British Prime Minister Theresa May.

"For the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of that decisive battle, in a true spirit of reconciliation, those who had formerly been sworn enemies came together in friendly commemorations either side of the Channel, putting past differences behind them," The Queen will say.

"By being willing to put past differences behind us and move forward together, we honour the freedom and democracy once won for us at so great a cost."

 

2019 is a year the Queen would probably rather forget. Picture: Getty Images
2019 is a year the Queen would probably rather forget. Picture: Getty Images

 

Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said The Queen will pleased to put 2019 behind her.

"It's a tapestry of a tough year - the Duke of York and Epstein and Harry and a Meghan's war with the press stand out," he said.

"And the year started with a literal car crash with Prince Philip.

"There have been all sorts of errors and the big question here is about the advisers - are they being listened to? Is the advice any good?."

The year has been so rough that some have compared 2019 to The Queen's "annus horribilis" in 1992.

That was the year Diana and Charles split up, Andrew and Sarah parted ways and Windsor Castle burned down.

Mr Fitzwilliams said however difficult 2019 has been, the Queen and the Royals can still bounce back.

"Never underestimate the Windsors," he said.

"Consider how bad things looked for the monarchy in the 1990s and how well they managed to swing things around."

Earlier this week, Prince Charles spoke about his father's health while visiting a flood-ravaged area of Yorkshire, telling reporters the Duke of Edinburgh had been "looked after very well" in hospital.

When asked how his father was by a wellwisher, the Prince of Wales said the Duke's ailing health reflected his age.

"All right," Prince Charles said. "When you get to that age things don't work so well."

 

Queen Elizabeth in a carriage along The Mall after the State Opening of parliament at the Palace of Westminster on October 14. Picture: Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth in a carriage along The Mall after the State Opening of parliament at the Palace of Westminster on October 14. Picture: Getty Images

Royal sources reportedly told The Sun that the Duke's hospital stay came after a month of ill health, including a bad fall, after which he was confined to bed for a few days.

Prince Andrew has caused major drama for the royal family. Picture: Getty
Prince Andrew has caused major drama for the royal family. Picture: Getty

"He didn't break anything, but it gave everyone a scare. He suffers from gout which makes him more irritable and he lost his appetite," one source said.

"Those around him were worried as he'd stopped eating and didn't want to go out. But he's a 98-year-old man and this is all very common at this age.

"He's been in good health generally but missed the Queen's Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace [last] Wednesday for the first time.

"And for the first time in what feels like centuries he won't be seen shooting anywhere this year, not even on the Sandringham estate which is a great shame."

 

The Queen recording her annual Christmas Day message at Windsor Castle. Picture: AP
The Queen recording her annual Christmas Day message at Windsor Castle. Picture: AP

Motorbikers flock to Roma for huge Christmas charity run

Premium Content Motorbikers flock to Roma for huge Christmas charity run

THIS year’s Maranoa Motorcyclists Toy Run had the largest turnout since 2012, with...

Hours long police pursuit locates stolen Miles car

Premium Content Hours long police pursuit locates stolen Miles car

A CAR stolen from Miles this morning was located 130km from where it was taken.

Truck carrying machinery ablaze on Leichhardt Highway

Premium Content Truck carrying machinery ablaze on Leichhardt Highway

EMERGENCY services rushed to the scene of a vehicle fire on the Leichhardt Hwy...