Queen Elizabeth Makes Historic Move to Cancel Birthday Gun Salutes in Light of Coronavirus Lockdown
Buckingham Palace previously announced that the monarch’s official birthday parade, Trooping the Colour, had been cancelled
Queen Elizabeth is scaling down her birthday celebrations this year.
The monarch, who will turn 94 on Tuesday, has requested that there be no special gun salutes to mark her birthday, which is usually celebrated with army cannons being fired in some of the Royal Parks in central London and elsewhere.
A royal source tells PEOPLE she was keen that no special measures were put in place for gun salutes as she didn’t think it is appropriate in the current lockdown circumstances when people are being requested not to gather and to stay at home. It is thought that it’s the first time in her reign that the salutes have not taken place.
Although the palace will not be marking Her Majesty’s birthday in any special way, it’s expected there will be a celebratory social media post, as has become the norm. Any messages or phone calls between family members and the Queen will remain private. The arrangements are in line with “Her Majesty’s wishes,” a royal source adds.
Meanwhile, the U.K. government department in charge of flag protocol has written to all departments saying that there should not be any flag flying. But they add “we are not expecting everyone to be able to follow this advice and you should continue to adhere to social distancing guidelines as set out by the Government.”
RELATED VIDEO: Breaking Down The Queen’s Historic Address amid Coronavirus
The Queen has made a number of public statements amid the global pandemic, emphasizing the need to band together as a country, united in fortitude and strength.
In addition to sharing an encouraging reminder that “coronavirus will not overcome us” on Easter, the monarch, who is currently residing in Windsor Castle with her husband Prince Phillip, made a rare televised address earlier this month.
“Together we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it,” she said in the morale-boosting speech. “We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.”
The U.K. has been under lockdown since March 23 to curb the spread of the coronavirus. It was recently announced that the lockdown would continue until at least May, although current protocols could remain in effect until June.
As of Saturday, there have been at least 109,769 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.K., the sixth most worldwide, and 14,607 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
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