The British leader has been allowed to exercise on the grounds of Buckingham Palace while he recovers from the effects of coronavirus, PEOPLE confirms

By Phil Boucher
May 27, 2020 04:25 PM
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Boris Johnson returns to Downing Street after exercising at the palace
ANL/Shutterstock

Queen Elizabeth is showing her support for U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he continues his recovery from coronavirus.

The monarch, 94, has given permission for Johnson to exercise around the landscaped gardens of Buckingham Palace while he recovers from the effects of COVID-19, PEOPLE confirms.

The British leader, 55, recently spent several days in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London after contracting the deadly virus and is believed to have upped his exercise regime in an effort to improve his fitness.

Johnson had previously been seen regularly exercising in public, and the palace, which also has an outdoor tennis court, offers more privacy. He was pictured returning to Downing Street in workout gear on Tuesday morning after running within the confines of Buckingham Palace.

Boris Johnson and Queen Elizabeth

It’s not just the Queen who has lent a helping hand either: Johnson – who welcomed son Wilfred with fiancée, Carrie Symonds, 32, just days after his release from hospital on April 12 — has also been photographed running through the grounds of Lambeth Palace, home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, with his dog Dilyn.

Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

In more normal times, Buckingham Palace would be welcoming tourists at this time of year, but this has been halted due to the COVID-19 lockdown across the U.K.

The Queen, who is currently self-isolating with husband Prince Philip, 98, at Windsor Castle — some 30 miles to the west of London — also welcomes thousands of people every year to garden parties on the grounds of Buckingham Palace, which were largely created by George IV after his accession to the throne in 1820 and include a terrace, ornamental lake and dense planting to create privacy for the royal family.

Rear garden at Buckingham Palace
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

In recent years, the garden has played host to President Obama and a number of national celebrations. It was also the scene of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s first official outing as a married couple, just three days after their May 2018 wedding.

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Johnson and the Queen normally meet once a week, but that changed amid the U.K. lockdown. The pair have kept up their weekly audiences via a telephone call.