Queen Elizabeth to Step Back From All Public Duty Until Fall: Report
"The Queen continues to be busy and will follow appropriate advice on engagements," says a Buckingham Palace spokesman
Queen Elizabeth is unlikely to be seen outside of palace walls for many months, leading some to speculate that she will not step out for an official public duty until the fall at the earliest.
With several of her engagements canceled, aides are said to be keeping her calendar clear amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
A royal source told the U.K. paper The Sunday Times, “The Queen won’t do anything which goes against the advice of people in her [age] category, and she’s going to take all the appropriate advice. There are discussions what we could do and couldn’t do come October.”
A Buckingham Palace spokesman says, “The Queen continues to be busy and will follow appropriate advice on engagements.”
The Queen, 94, will continue to carry out official duties, such as meeting with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson — by phone as she has been doing — reviewing her papers and talking with aides.
But she is unlikely to return to Buckingham Palace from Windsor Castle, where she has remained she since headed there on March 19. Her husband Prince Philip, 98, has been sheltering in place alongside her.
She was last seen in public alongside several members of her family at the Commonwealth Service on March 9. That day was the last public engagement for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as working members of the royal family.
Although she has not been seen out, the Queen has continued to speak with the public from her isolation at Windsor Castle. In her latest video address on May 8, the Queen spoke from Windsor Castle to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, drawing comparisons with the coronavirus crisis.
“At the start the outlook seemed bleak, the end distant, the outcome uncertain. But we kept faith that the cause was right and this belief, as my father [King George VI] noted in his broadcast, carried us through.”
This week, she would have been at the Royal Windsor Horse Show, which has been canceled (though there is a streaming version). Other social events and public duties that have been scrapped include the May 29 wedding of her granddaughter Princess Beatrice and Trooping the Colour, the official marking of the Queen's birthday in June. The Order of the Garter commemoration is also off, and Royal Ascot horse racing will not be open to the public, though the races may be streamed or broadcast.
There are also reports that an October state visit from the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, is in jeopardy.
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The potential closure of Buckingham Palace to summer tourists – a first for the last 27 years – has not been confirmed by the Royal Collection but is no doubt under review. The palace normally opens to the public when the Queen departs to begin her summer vacation at the Balmoral estate in Scotland in late July.
Prince William and Kate Middleton have been conducting engagements via video conference calls, while Prince Charles, 71, and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall have also been talking with key charities and offering support on calls and video chats. On Friday, the couple stepped out of their home in Scotland to lay a wreath of tribute to those who fell during WWII.