Queen makes first appearance after heavy cold over Christmas

The Queen Image copyright PA
Image caption The monarch missed two church services over the festive period

The Queen has made her first public appearance of 2017 after ill-health affected her during the festive season.

She attended the morning church service at St Mary Magdalene in Sandringham, Norfolk, on Sunday.

There were concerns about the monarch's health after she missed services on Christmas Day and New Year's Day, which she normally attends with other members of the royal family.

Buckingham Palace said she was "recuperating" from a heavy cold.

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Media captionThe Queen was welcomed as she arrived at St Mary Magdalene's church in Sandringham, Norfolk

The Queen, dressed in blue, arrived with Prince Philip at about 11:00 GMT in a maroon Bentley.

Shortly after, she was joined by other members of the royal family, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as well as the Middleton family.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also attended church, having spent Christmas with the Middletons

They stayed at the church for an hour, before being driven back to their estate at 12:00 GMT.

At the scene in Sandringham

By Daniela Relph, BBC correspondent

It is a chilly, damp Sandringham day. Perhaps just the sort of day you wouldn't venture out if you had a cold.

But today the Queen felt well enough to make her first public appearance since arriving on her Sandringham estate in December.

She was cheered by members of the public as she emerged from the car.

Her absence from the Christmas Day church service here was significant in that she rarely fails to appear at these regular public events, where people expect to see her.

She will know that her absence causes concern and rumour.

But officials had always maintained she just had a heavy cold and at 90 years old was being cautious.

She will stay on her Norfolk estate until next month.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Queen arrived with Prince Philip by her side

Members of the public came out to greet the Queen.

One woman said she had seen her get out the car and speak to the vicar, before going up the steps to church.

A man added: "We saw her very close up. We have been waiting the past three weeks to know she has attended. It is very nice to see her and of course, Prince Philip too."

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Image caption Pippa Middleton (left), Michael Middleton and James Middleton (right) also attended the service

Both the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh cancelled their plans to travel to Sandringham for Christmas on 21 December because of heavy colds. The next day, they travelled by helicopter to the estate, rather than taking the train.

Prince Philip made a full recovery by Christmas Day and attended church with Prince Charles, Prince Harry and others, but the Palace said the Queen was staying indoors to help with her recovery.

The monarch also failed to attend the New Year's Day church service, although her daughter Princess Anne told well-wishers she was feeling "better".

Image copyright AP
Image caption The last time the Queen was seen in public was at an investiture, during which actor Eddie Redmayne was awarded an OBE

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