THE Queen looks set to cancel her traditional Christmas Day walkabout over fears it could become an Omicron super-spreader.
Her Majesty has already called off her festive family party as Covid rips through the UK.
Thousands of royal watchers normally gather to greet members of the Firm during their annual December 25 stroll, with some queueing from the early hours of the morning to catch a glimpse of the royal clan.
But aides have reportedly advised the monarch to close the gates to her private grounds to curb coronavirus transmission, The Mirror reports.
Sandringham estate, Norfolk, may not be closed altogether, but sources claim staff “fully expect” the famous footpath will be fenced off.
One said: “Of course everyone would love everything back to normal – but the situation is anything but.”
The event was also called off last year when daily infections were also on the rise and the UK entered lockdown.
Instead, the Queen spent the festive period shielding at Windsor Castle with her late husband Prince Philip.
Scenes are likely to reminiscent again this year, during Her Majesty’s first Christmas without the Duke of Edinburgh, who died in April aged 99.
If the Christmas Day walk is off, it will be the second festive event to be cancelled in a matter of days.
The monarch already revealed it was “with regret” her annual royal get-together in the run up to the big day would not be going ahead as planned – but that it was “the right thing to do” as the Omicron variant rages across the UK.
The decision was described as “a precautionary one” as it was felt the festive lunch would “put too many people’s Christmas arrangements at risk if it went ahead”.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment further as it is a “private family event”.
The monarch had been due to host The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, among 50 or so other members of the Royal Family, at Windsor Castle on December 21.
There was due to be wine, crackers and a feast inside the castle – before the Queen set off for Sandringham for the big day itself.
Tuesday’s party had been moved from Buckingham Palace to Windsor where the Queen remains on “light duties” after health scares.
Three of her four new grandchildren — August, Lucas and Siena — all born this year, had been expected to join the party.
But US-based Prince Harry, Meghan, Archie and their daughter Lilibet, who was also born this year, were not scheduled to fly over for the bash.
It had been hoped the celebrations would be bigger than last year when Her Majesty was forced to spend it at Windsor for the first time in 33 years.
The royal made the difficult decision to postpone her annual family tradition after a record number of Covid cases were recorded.
And they have since risen further, with a total of 90,418 fresh infections reported in the 24 hours to December 18.
The number of Omicron cases has also soared, trebling in 24 hours.
The pace of the outbreak is moving at a speed never seen before, experts say.
It’s being driven by the Omicron Covid variant which is more transmissible than Delta and was only detected in the UK weeks ago – but it may have been spreading before this.
Boris Johnson has insisted the government won’t introduce further restrictions before Christmas – but Chief Medical Adviser Prof Chris Whitty has urged the public not to “mix with people you don’t have to”.
And it is now feared lockdown measures could be brought in as soon as Boxing Day.