Prime Minister Boris Johnson has unveiled a series of new restrictions aiming to combat the spread of coronavirus, with the new measures expected to remain in place well into 2021.
Some royal watchers are wondering whether the new rules will impact the birthday celebrations of the Duke of Edinburgh, who will turn 100 in June.
Unfortunately – there is no simple answer, with plans remaining uncertain.
Very few details have been made public about what exactly we can expect to mark Prince Philip’s centenary year, although it is assumed that there will be major celebrations.
In August 2000, The Queen Mother celebrated her 100th birthday with a procession down The Mall and a balcony appearance. A similar programme is likely to be in place for Prince Philip.
On Monday, the England’s Chief Medical Officer said that we will have to learn to live with COVID-19 for the foreseeable future.
Boris Johnson also said that coronavirus restrictions will likely remain in place for the next six months.
As such, it is assumed that social distancing will continue until at least March of next year, with the ‘Rule of Six’ being the new way of life.
The Rule of Six simplifies the rules on social gatherings, making them easier to understand and easier for the police to enforce.
It means that – apart from a set of limited exemptions including work and education – any social gatherings of more than six people will be against the law.
Police will be able to disperse any such gatherings and fine individuals involved £200, with fines of £3,200 for repeat offenders.
Following the news that the rules are expected to last well into next year, plans are already being put on hold, and other events are being cancelled many months in advance.
The 2021 World Economic Forum in Davos has already been called off, with other events expected to follow.
Christmas will be effectively called off this year, with people unable to meet their families.
It is unclear what the situation will be for The Royal Family, although it is unlikely we will see the royals attending church at Sandringham this year.
As well as the ‘Rule of Six’, the royals do not want to encourage crowds to gather. As such, they are not expected to make any public appearances during the 2020 festive period.