The Queen will swap work for rest at Sandringham as she celebrates her first Christmas without Prince Philip, according to reports.
Her Majesty's health has forced her to pull out of high profile events since spending a night in hospital last month.
But as attention turns to the 95-year-old's Platinum Jubilee next year, she is reportedly saving her energy over the festive period so she can mark the anniversary properly.
Heading to the Norfolk retreat over Christmas has long been tradition for the Queen and her late husband, but her return without him this year is a positive sign, claim insiders.
According to the Express, those close to the monarch are delighted that she is well enough to contemplate a return to normality.
It is thought that after a winter of rest – following a 24-hour hospital stay and recovery from a sprained back in recent weeks – her first public engagement may be a memorial service for her late husband.
Palace officials are working on plans for a service in March, possibly at St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey or St George's Chapel in Windsor.
How much the Queen, 95, will be able to do by then is unclear.
She is still under doctor's orders to stick to light duties for the foreseeable future because of an unexplained health condition that led to her spending 24 hours undergoing preliminary investigations last month.
It also forced her to miss the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Cenotaph in London.
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This week she has had a busy few days, holding a range of in-person meetings and virtual audiences.
Next year she is likely to mark her accession, and a landmark 70 years on the throne, at Sandringham on February 6.
But it is always a day of quiet contemplation for her because it is the anniversary of her father King George VI's death.
Her Platinum Jubilee celebrations will last all year but are due to reach a climax in a four-day bank holiday weekend in June.
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Events at Buckingham Palace are due to begin in April.
But all plans could be thrown into disarray if the new South African Covid variant hits Britain.
One source said: "It's difficult to plan anything for certain at the moment."
Professor Whitelock, a leading expert on royal history, predicts that Her Majesty the Queen will increasingly retreat from the public eye in favour of her son and grandson.
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"She's certainly not actively deciding to step back,” she told the Express, “obviously she is being guided by her doctors.
"And I think we're just sort of seeing the reality of a 95-year-old being slightly limited by their age."
A Palace spokesman told the Express: "The family's Christmas plans are a private affair."
The Daily Star has approached the Palace for comment.
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