Nightly News   |  January 03, 2012

Body found on royal Sandringham Estate

After spending the holidays at the Sandringham Estate, the royal family is now faced with a murder mystery. The body of a woman was found on the grounds of a favorite royal retreat. NBC’s Michelle Kosinski reports.

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BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: A surprising story out of Great Britain tonight and it's brought new attention to the royal family for a strange reason. The body of an apparent murder victim has been found on the grounds of the queen's country estate where she and Prince Philip have been spending the holidays. We get our report tonight from NBC 's Michelle Kosinski .

MICHELLE KOSINSKI reporting: Just yesterday, Queen Elizabeth was on horseback enjoying the grounds of her Sandringham estate , where the royal family spent Christmas together; but by nightfall, she and husband, Prince Philip , recovering there from minor heart surgery, got some most unwelcome news from police.

Detective Chief Inspector JES FRY (Norfolk Police): A member of the public had been walking their dog in the area and had found the body of a female in a wooded area.

KOSINSKI: The body of a woman, apparently murdered, found on the estate less than two miles from the queen's residence.

Offscreen Voice: What do you know about what's happened to her?

Det. Chief Inspector FRY: Very little at this time.

KOSINSKI: Police do say the unburied remains had been there for up to four months in this divider between farm fields. Sandringham , though, is enormous, 30 square miles , including both towns, farms, woods, a 500-acre park and pathways accessible to the public all the time. It's been a favorite royal retreat deep in the countryside since Queen Victoria 's reign. Queen Elizabeth 's ancestors hunted here, her father died here. It's where the family could always escape the public eye. Now a murder mystery on royal land that has investigators delving into cold cases and the muddy woodland for clues, while the queen remains in residence. Michelle Kosinski , NBC News, London.