Britain's Queen Elizabeth makes first appearance after heavy cold

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip (partially hidden) arriving at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham on Jan 8, 2017.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip (partially hidden) arriving at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham on Jan 8, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP, REUTERS) - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday (Jan 8) made her first public appearance in over a month after missing traditional Christmas events due to a heavy cold.

The 90-year-old attended a Sunday church service at her private Sandringham estate in Norfolk, eastern England, having missed a New Year's Day church service due to an illness that also forced her to delay her Christmas plans.

The world's longest reigning monarch, wearing a vibrant blue coat and hat, was filmed getting out of a royal car at around 10.55 am (6.55pm Singapore time) for the service at St Mary Magdalene church. She was accompanied by her 95-year-old husband Prince Philip, who was also hit by the bug.

Despite her illness, the queen continued to receive her red boxes containing official papers, and spent Christmas at Sandringham with members of her family, as normal.

However, the royal couple's journey from London to the estate was delayed by a day because of their illnesses.

When she failed to appear on Christmas Day, speculation grew about the queen's health, and a fake report on Twitter that she died prompted news stories in some of the tabloid newspapers.

Fears grew when the queen, the symbolic head of the Church of England, missed the traditional New Year's Day service, with Buckingham Palace saying she "does not yet feel ready to attend church as she is still recuperating from a heavy cold." British newspaper the Daily Mail reported that the monarch had a persistent "hacking cough" and was worried about disturbing other worshippers.

She resumed official duties on Wednesday when she gave an honour to a member of her staff in a private ceremony.

When asked about her mother's health, daughter Princess Anne said she was "better", according to the Daily Mirror.

After more than six decades on the throne, the queen has cut back on international tours but still regularly performs official duties around Britain.

The palace said last month she would step down as patron of several charities and other organisations to reduce her workload.