The British monarch, 90, typically hosts her family's Christmas gathering at her countryside home, but this year (16), it appears they will be staying in London.

The couple had been due to take a train from London to Norfolk on Wednesday (21Dec16), but the travel plans were axed at late notice.

"The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have heavy colds, and so have decided not to travel to Sandringham today," says a spokesperson for royal residence Buckingham Palace.

The news of their illness ironically emerges weeks after 95-year-old Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, boasted he hadn't contracted the flu in over four decades as he chatted to scientists at the Francis Crick Institute biomedical research centre in London last month (Nov16).

The Queen is still expected to deliver her annual televised address to the nation on Christmas Day (25Dec16).