The Queen misses Christmas lunch, palace says

(CNN) — The Queen will miss Thursday’s traditional pre-Christmas lunch for royals at Buckingham Palace, according to a member of the British royal family.

A source close to the royal family told CNN the reason was that she was busy on Monday delivering floral tributes to the war graves of 1,400 soldiers who died during the Battle of Passchendaele in Belgium in 1917.

The woman spoke on condition of anonymity as she was not authorized to speak publicly.

Rumors about the high-profile meal had been circulating for days — and earlier on Thursday British media reported that it had been canceled in the face of the country’s cold snap.

Britain has recorded its coldest autumn in at least 20 years, and three inches of snow fell in Cumbria, North West England last week.

During the last big chill in 2012, Queen Elizabeth II canceled the annual event, with her husband Prince Philip also absent from the lunch. Prince Charles was scheduled to attend.

CNN also asked Buckingham Palace whether this year’s queen would make it, and a spokesman replied with a flat “no” and sent CNN to the British media, who attributed the cancellation to the the unseasonal weather.

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