Trooping the Colour, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip are on the move. 

While the monarchs were set to leave for their private Sandringham Estate on Wednesday for Christmas, Buckingham Palace announced the couple had "heavy colds" and were postponing their trip. 

A day later, a royal spokesman confirmed the pair indeed left Buckingham Palace and were on their way to Norfolk, England. It seems not even a runny nose will stop England's matriarch from getting into the Christmas spirit. 

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, 90th Birthday Celebrations

Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

While it seems the holiday festivities have resumed as scheduled, the 90-year-old queen has lightened her royal load this week, announcing she will stand down from 25 of her patronages by the end of the year and hand the charitable responsibilities over to younger members of the royal family. Nevertheless, she still remains a patron of roughly 600 organizations. 

Royal expert Victoria Arbiter notes the end-of-year changes are also meant to help ease the transition to her heir apparent, son Prince Charles—for when the time comes, of course.  

"We're definitely seeing a transition in progress. The royal family doesn't leave anything to chance," Arbiter said in an interview on Today Thursday. "We're seeing this really slow transition in place, but it doesn't mean she's any less committed to the role."

While there's no telling when that transition will occur, it will be quite the change for the people of England when the time arrives. 

"Charles is going to be the most prepared sovereign that we've ever had, but most Britains alive today don't remember any other monarch," Arbiter said of Queen Elizabeth, who has reigned since 1952. "I think they all assume the Queen is just going to live forever. She's like the Energizer Bunny."

(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)

We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our Cookie Policy.