Sandringham Estate: police examine human remains near Royal home
Residents have expressed their shock at the discovery of human remains in woodland on the Sandringham Estate, the Queen’s country retreat in Norfolk.
A major police inquiry was launched after a dog walker discovered the remains on New Year’s Day just a mile from the Royal Stud and less than two miles from the estate’s main residence.
Officers are carrying out a “detailed search” throughout the area of woodland in Anmer, near King’s Lynn, which is east of Sandringham House, where members of the Royal Family had gathered.
The operation was kept secret for more than 24 hours as detectives worked to establish how remains were found to be located so close to the Royal residence. A large area of the woodland had been cordoned off.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, who are currently staying on the 20,000-acre (8,000-hectare) estate for their Christmas break, were informed of the discovery on Monday night.
The body was discovered shortly after the Royals attended a church service on Sunday.
Detectives are set to return to the scene on Tuesday as they continue to try and establish the identity of the remains. A post mortem is due to take place later.
It remains unclear how long the remains had been there, if they are in fact a body, or the age of the victim, or victims. The dog walker has also not been named.
Residents told The Daily Telegraph that the large police operation had been shrouded in secrecy.
One resident, who did not want to be named, said: “There is a heavy police presence even 24 hours after the discovery.
"You couldn't get very close to the site. Police said they expected to be there on tomorrow (Tuesday).
"It is just a stone's throw from the Stud and the Royals' house. It is very close."
Another resident, who also did not want to be named, said locals were shocked at the discovery.
"I spoke to several of my friends who work on the estate and they were at work on Monday and didn't hear anything about it," he said.
"No one knows anything about it. It has been quite a secret operation.
"The area is only used by people who work nearby, dog walkers and local residents."
He added: "It is quite a bit of a shock, given the proximity to the grounds itself. The area is really not that far from Sandringham House.
"We are all a bit stunned to be honest. It is just a really quiet area."
Mike Berman, the Chairman of Norfolk Ramblers, added: "I believe Anmer did once have a burial site which is no longer used so perhaps that may shed some light on the discovery."
A Norfolk Police spokesman said: “Detectives from Norfolk Constabulary have launched an investigation following the discovery of human remains in an area of woodland at Anmer, near King’s Lynn.
“The remains were found by a member of the public who reported the incident to police on Sunday January 1 shortly after 4pm. The area has been sealed off and a detailed search is currently being carried out.”
Police declined to comment further or release any details about the remains. No indication of the age or nature of the remains was released.
A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman declined to comment, referring inquiries to police.
The details emerged just days after the Duke, 90, left Papworth Hospital, Cambridgeshire, where he was treated for a blocked artery after suffering chest pains.
The Duke’s heart scare forced him to miss the annual celebrations, including the annual Boxing Day shoot.
He was airlifted to hospital from Sandringham on December 23 and kept under observation for four nights after undergoing the “minimally invasive procedure” of coronary stenting, which was declared a success.
The Queen, who makes it her official base until February, was seen riding on the estate on Monday morning.
The 85-year-old year-old wore only a headscarf and the hood of her long blue waxed jacket for protection as she rode a chestnut coloured horse.
She emerged in the winter sunshine a few minutes later on horseback, accompanied by a smartly-dressed male groom on a white horse who was wearing a proper black riding hat in case he fell off.
Sandringham has served as a private residence for Royal Family since 1862. King George V, the queen's grandfather, once called "dear old Sandringham ... (the) place I love better than anywhere in the world".
Around half of the estate is let to farm tenants, with much of the remainder used for forestry.
In October The Daily Telegraph disclosed that the remains of an American man had been lying near Buckingham Palace for years.
Robert James Moore sent hundreds of letters to the Queen and was driven by his obsession to set up home within sight of Buckingham Palace, on an island in St James’s Park.
But somehow his camp that he set up by went unnoticed until a tree surgeon uncovered the remains of his body in October, as many as three years after his death.