The Times - UK (2022-01-24)

(Antfer) #1

the times | Monday January 24 2022 2GM 5


It is a pilgrimage that has been nearly a
year in the making. The Queen is to
return to Sandringham’s Wood Farm
for the first time since the Duke of Edin-
burgh’s death.
She was flown by helicopter from
Windsor Castle to her Norfolk estate
yesterday where she will reside for the
next few weeks.
The Queen, 95, is expected to spend
time at Wood Farm, a five-bedroom
cottage on the estate. The private bolt
hole became the Duke of Edinburgh’s
home in the final years of his life after
he retired from public duties in 2017.
It was Philip’s escape from the
formalities of royal existence and was a
place where he spent time reading,
painting and carriage driving. With a
good view over the Wash, it was also a
space in which he would entertain
The Queen has not returned to
Wood Farm since Philip’s death on
April 9 at the age of 99. They spent two
weeks together at the cottage in
September 2020 before she returned to
her duties at Buckingham Palace. Dur-
ing their time at the retreat, they
enjoyed a simpler existence, dispensing
with liveried servants and embracing
some of the domestic duties of a regular
married couple. It is said that the
Queen would even lend a hand in the
There is a second reason why the
Queen’s return to Sandringham is
significant. She will be at the estate on

accession day on February 6, which
marks the anniversary of King George
VI’s death. He died in his sleep while in
residence at Sandringham. The
Queen’s reign will pass the historic
milestone of 70 years and herald the
start of Platinum Jubilee celebrations,
which will culminate in an extended
bank holiday weekend in June.
The Queen had wanted to return to
Sandringham over Christmas for her
traditional winter break but decided to

remain at Windsor Castle because of
surging Omicron cases. It was the
second year that the pandemic caused
the cancellation of the festive trip.
She has spent much of this year at
Windsor Castle, where she and Philip
had shielded throughout the lock-
There were concerns for the Queen’s
health during autumn last year after
she pulled out of a number of major
engagements, spent a night in hospital

and was ordered to rest by royal
The Queen’s missed engagements
included the Cop26 climate change
conference. She had also been due to
attend the Remembrance Sunday
service at the Cenotaph but was absent
after spraining her back. She continued
to carry out light duties, including wel-
coming General Sir Nick Carter, chief
of the defence staff, to Windsor Castle.
Her return to Wood Farm follows the

government lifting restrictions intro-
duced to limit the spread of Omicron.
The Queen has dutifully observed
coronavirus rules, including holding an
intimate funeral for Philip, during
which she was pictured sitting alone in
St George’s Chapel.
The picture has resurfaced this
month after it was revealed that a party
was held in Downing Street the night
before the funeral. Boris Johnson has
apologised to the Queen.


puffer fish was
rushed to a
veterinary dentist
to have her teeth
sawed in half after
they grew too long for her to

eat (Cameron Charters
writes). Goldie, a five-year-old
porcupine puffer fish was at
risk of starving so her owner,
Mark Byatt, 64, took her to
the dentists at Sandhole

Veterinary Centre in
Snodland, Kent. They
sedated her by filling her
bowl with a mild anaesthetic
solution, before using a saw
to trim her 1in teeth. Debbie

Addison, a veterinary nurse,
held Goldie in a damp towel
to prevent her from drying
out or triggering a defence
mechanism that can inflate
puffer fish to twice their size.

Goldie responded well to the
hour-long treatment and
started swimming within ten
minutes. Byatt said: “We’re
just thrilled to have Goldie
back home. She is thriving.”

A trip to the

dentist leaves

Goldie grinning


Queen returns to Philip’s beloved cottage

Jake Kanter

The Prince of Wales has emphasised
the importance of planting and
maintaining hedgerows as he
encourages the nation to take better
care of natural land barriers.
Charles has bemoaned the
destruction of British hedgerows
over the past 60 years, arguing that
their demise is bad for the landscape
and wildlife. In an interview with
BBC1’s The One Show, he said more
needed to be done to promote the
craft of hedgelaying. “They’re vital.
They hold the soil together in many
ways, prevent erosion, flooding and
they link up woods, and copses.”
Hedgerows were originally grown

Charles digs in

on hedgerows

to stop sheep and cattle roaming
into neighbouring farmlands, but
Charles said they also help dormice
and butterflies thrive. “They provide
essential biodiversity corridors for
all the different insects and other
creatures that live in them.”
He is a patron of the National
Hedgelaying Society and was
speaking to the BBC as part of an
annual hedgelaying competition he
holds on his Highgrove Estate in
Gloucestershire, where he has
planted 15 miles of new hedges.
“As a teenager I watched in
horror as miles and miles of such a
wonderful part of the landscape was
grubbed up in the name of
agricultural progress,” he said last
year. “Hedges which had stood for
hundreds of years, even thousands,
disappeared in an instant. Now our
hedgerows are under a new threat,
with ash dieback threatening to
destroy the vast majority.”

Jake Kanter

The cottage on the Sandringham estate was Prince Philip’s home in his last years

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