Queen Elizabeth has cancelled a planned Christmas party at Buckingham Palace after deciding it would be inappropriate to celebrate as ordinary Britons feel the pinch from tough economic times.
The royal household thought the event, paid for by the queen herself and usually staged every two years, would be unseemly as Britons cope with deep public spending cuts to bring down a record peacetime budget deficit.
"The queen is acutely aware of the difficult economic circumstances facing the country," a palace spokeswoman said on Thursday.
The Sun newspaper said the Christmas shindig, planned for December 13, cost 50,000 pounds ($79,000) and was to have been enjoyed by 1,200 guests.
"It's the first time in memory the party's been cancelled," one unnamed worker told the Sun. "We're all devastated as it's a great night when everyone lets their hair down.
"It's normal to see the Queen dancing with a footman or Prince Philip waltzing with a maid."