The Queen leaves Windsor Castle for Prince Philip's 'modest' home of Wood Farm

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The Queen leaves Windsor Castle for Prince Philip’s ‘modest’ home of Wood Farm on the Sandringham estate as she prepares to celebrate her 96th birthday privately

  • The Queen has arrived at Wood Farm, in Sandringham, ahead of her birthday   
  • The ‘modest’ property is where Prince Philip spent much of his time 
  • She is expected to celebrate in a low-key way with some friends

The Queen has arrived at her beloved late husband’s home at Sandringham ahead of her 96th birthday tomorrow.

The monarch travelled by helicopter from Windsor Castle to the Norfolk estate and will stay at Wood Farm – the ‘modest’ farmhouse that Prince Philip made his home following his retirement from public life – until early next week.

It is expected she will be visited by family and friends over the next few days to celebrate her birthday in a typically ‘low-key’ way.

It comes after an eventful Easter break that saw the Duke and Duchess of Sussex visit her at Windsor.

Quiet celebrations: The Queen has arrived at her beloved late husband's home at Sandringham ahead of her 96th birthday tomorrow. Pictured, the Queen arriving at Wood Farm

Quiet celebrations: The Queen has arrived at her beloved late husband’s home at Sandringham ahead of her 96th birthday tomorrow. Pictured, the Queen arriving at Wood Farm

A royal homecoming: The Queen was driven from the helicopter through the gates of Wood Farm on the Sandringham estate. She will remain in Norfolk for several days

A royal homecoming: The Queen was driven from the helicopter through the gates of Wood Farm on the Sandringham estate. She will remain in Norfolk for several days

Leaving Windsor: The Queen travelled to the Norfolk estate by helicopter this morning

Leaving Windsor: The Queen travelled to the Norfolk estate by helicopter this morning

Fond memories: The Queen will stay at Wood Farm – the'modest' farmhouse that Prince Philip made his home following his retirement from public life – until early next week. Pictured, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in a photo released to mark his 99th birthday in June 2020

Fond memories: The Queen will stay at Wood Farm – the ‘modest’ farmhouse that Prince Philip made his home following his retirement from public life – until early next week. Pictured, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in a photo released to mark his 99th birthday in June 2020

Harry has said his grandmother was ‘on great form’ when they met before he and wife Meghan travelled to Holland for the Invictus Games.

But he pointedly added he wanted to make sure she was ‘protected’ and had ‘the right people around her’, but did not elaborate in the NBC’s Today show interview whether he was referring to palace aides or the royal family.

While in Norfolk, the Queen is likely to spend time visiting her Royal Stud and being driven around her 20,000-acre estate, which was extensively modernised by Philip and more recently Prince Charles, who has taken over its running.

Buckingham Palace is not planning any kind of major public engagement to mark her birthday but there will be tributes from family members and the organisations she has been involved with.

Getting away: The Queen left Windsor Castle this morning, pictured, after an eventful Easter break that included a visit from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex

Getting away: The Queen left Windsor Castle this morning, pictured, after an eventful Easter break that included a visit from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex

Time for reflection: The Queen, seen leaving Windsor, will spend time at Home Farm on the Norfolk estate. She previously joined Prince Philip there in his retirement

Time for reflection: The Queen, seen leaving Windsor, will spend time at Home Farm on the Norfolk estate. She previously joined Prince Philip there in his retirement

Escape: The Queen's short holiday will be taken as an encouraging sign given her recent health and mobility issues which have seen her forced to pull out of a string of engagements

 Escape: The Queen’s short holiday will be taken as an encouraging sign given her recent health and mobility issues which have seen her forced to pull out of a string of engagements

Her short holiday will be taken as an encouraging sign given her recent health and mobility issues which have seen her forced to pull out of a string of engagements.

She has no major confirmed engagements in her diary and is not even sure what events to mark her Platinum Jubilee in June she will be in a position to commit to.

The Queen has strong emotional ties to Sandringham, which was adored by her late father George VI.

She would often join the Duke of Edinburgh, who lived at the farmhouse from 2017 after retiring, enjoying quiet time away from the spotlight as a relatively ordinary married couple.

Fastest route: The Queen's helicopter could be seen taking off above Windsor Castle today

Fastest route: The Queen’s helicopter could be seen taking off above Windsor Castle today

Taking flight: The helicopter above Windsor Castle as the Queen made the journey to Norfolk

Taking flight: The helicopter above Windsor Castle as the Queen made the journey to Norfolk

The prince lived in the five-bedroom property, which he modernised and added a new kitchen to, from 2017 after retiring from public life.

Although the arrangement seemed strange to some, the Queen felt strongly that her husband had earned his freedom and privacy after decades of dutiful royal service.

And it made the time they spent there all the more precious.

The Queen is the longest reigning British monarch in history and the longest serving female monarch in the world.

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