Queen Elizabeth missed a church service at Sandringham on Sunday (23.12.12) due to a cold.

The 86-year-old monarch was unable to join her husband Prince Philip, 91, and other members of the royal family for the 11am service at St Mary Magdalene Church but is expected to recover in time for Christmas celebrations at her estate in Norfolk, East England.

Her spokesperson said: ''She is getting over the tail end of a cold. That is why she was not at church today.

''It will certainly be business as usual next week. She hopes to be at church on Tuesday (25.12.12) for the Christmas Day service - absolutely.'

This is the first time in living memory that the queen has missed the service and it left members of the public, who had waited outside the church to see her, disappointed.

Hayley Shaw of Norwich, Norfolk, who was in the crowd, told MailOnline: 'A member of the royal entourage came out just before the service and told everyone that the queen would not be coming.

''Somebody said they had come all the way from Wales and the aide replied that he was sure the queen would be at church as normal on Christmas Day.

''When [the queen's daughter-in-law] Sophie Wessex came out of the church, I overheard her talking to the vicar, suggesting that someone had a sore throat and would have found it hard to sing. I guess she was talking about the queen.

''It was a disappointment not to see the queen and it made me a little bit worried about her - but Philip was looking very healthy.''