Buckingham Palace has announced major changes to the royal diary for the coming months as coronavirus continues to spread across the UK. The Queen and her family have had to cancel garden parties and investitures while huge events, including Trooping the Colour, are now in doubt.
In a short statement issued on Tuesday afternoon, the Royal Household said that ”’In consultation with the Medical Household and Government, a number of public events with large numbers of people due to have been attended by the Queen, and other Members of the Royal Family, in the coming months will be cancelled or postponed”.
Among the events now off are the three Garden Parties held at Buckingham Palace every year. They were set to go ahead in May but are now cancelled. All those invited will be welcomed to the Palace in 2021. Special garden parties, for the Not Forgotten Association and the National Trust, are also off. Investitures are now on ice, too, and will be rescheduled once government advice on large gatherings changes.
The Queen will also head to Windsor earlier than planned. Her Majesty holds her Easter Court there every year but she will now arrive at the famous royal residence a week sooner than expected, settling there from March 19th. She will stay there beyond Easter with no date given for her return to London as yet. It’s likely that everyone over the age of 70 will be asked to self isolate from this weekend, possibly for up to 12 weeks, meaning her stay there could extend into the summer.
The Queen won’t be distributing Maundy Money this year – the ancient ceremony usually takes place on Maundy Thursday but has been cancelled. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York have just confirmed that all forms of public worship should be cancelled for the time being meaning it’s unlikely the Queen will attend church on Easter Sunday.
At the moment, audiences will continue with the Queen due to meet the Prime Minister as well as the Bishop of Hereford and the Commanding Officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth in the coming days. However, the statement noted that these audiences will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.
Further statements on Trooping the Colour, the 75th anniversary of VE Day and the State Visit of the Emperor and Empress of Japan will be made in due course. However, Japanese media is reporting that the visit has been cancelled.
There’s also no word on the impact these changes will have on the wedding of Princess Beatrice of York. She is set to marry Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi on May 29th at St. James’ Palace with a reception afterwards at Buckingham Palace. The news that garden parties won’t be held at the Queen’s London residence has cast doubt on whether Beatrice’s celebrations will take the shape so far announced.