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Murder Probe Under Way After Woman's Body Found on Queen Elizabeth's Estate

  • body found on queen's estate

    Jan. 3: Police attend the scene following the discovery of human remains on the Queen's Sandringham estate, in Norfolk, England. (AP)

  • queen elizabeth's country estate

    A 1978 file photo of Britain's Queen Elizabeth's Sandringham House in eastern England. (AP)

A murder investigation is under way in England after a woman's body was found on the grounds of Queen Elizabeth's Sandringham country estate. 

The remains were discovered on the vast estate in Eastern England shortly after 4 p.m. on New Year's Day, according to multiple reports. 

Sky News reported that the body was found by a member of the public in woodlands in Anmer, a tiny village 115 miles northeast of London that is situated on the 20,000-acre Sandringham estate. The remains were reportedly located about a mile from the main gate to Sandringham House, where the queen spent New Year's Day. 

Detective Chief Inspector Jes Fry said the "circumstances suggest this is a murder" and that authorities are examining missing person reports and unsolved cases around the country to see if there are any links.

"We are at the very early stages of the investigation and it could be a complex inquiry," Fry said during a news conference Tuesday. "The body had been there for some time."

Fry added that the body was "not underground as such," according to Sky News. He also said it was unclear if the woman was killed at the scene or placed there after her death.

The remains have reportedly been taken to the Queen Elizabeth II hospital in King's Lynn for a post-mortem. Authorities would not comment on whether the body was clothed and the age of the victim is not yet known.   

The hamlet of Anmer is home to several dozen people and is about three miles from Sandringham House, which has served as a private residence for British monarchs since 1862. Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip spent part of the holiday season there and were at Sandringham House on New Year's Day. 

Sandringham Estate's website says the entire estate is spread over 19,768 acres in Norfolk. Sandringham House and its gardens make up 59 acres, and there are 590 acres of woods and open countryside in a section that is open to the public free of charge all year.

There are also two stud farms and a fruit farm. The estate employs more than 100 full-time staff.

A royal spokesman told Reuters that the queen has been informed about the discovery. 

Click for more on the murder investigation from Sky News 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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