Coronavirus Pandemic: Queen Elizabeth II Cancels Appointments for Next Few Months

File photo of Queen Elizabeth II.

File photo of Queen Elizabeth II.

The monarch, who turns 94 next month, was to host a series of garden parties and Easter-related events but will now spend time indoors in Windsor.

  • PTI London
  • Last Updated: March 18, 2020, 4:25 PM IST
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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has cancelled all her appointments for the next few months and is set to leave Buckingham Palace in London on Thursday to be based at Windsor Castle for an extended period of time amid the coronavirus pandemic outbreak which has claimed 71 lives in the country.

The monarch, who turns 94 next month, was to host a series of garden parties and Easter-related events but will now spend time indoors in Windsor, south-east England, in consultation with her medical experts and the UK government.

Her regular "audiences" with Prime Minister Boris Johnson are set to continue for now but the palace said that as a "sensible precaution and for practical reasons", a number of other changes are being made to the rest of her diary.

"Her Majesty will move to Windsor Castle for the Easter period on Thursday 19th March, one week earlier than planned. It is likely the Queen will stay there beyond the Easter period," Buckingham Palace said in a statement.

"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," the statement added.

The annual Maundy Service at St George's Chapel in Windsor ahead of Good Friday next month will not go ahead.

Three Garden Parties hosted by the monarch, due to be held at Buckingham Palace in May, will now not take place and guests already invited will be asked to attend in 2021.

Two additional palace parties given for the Not Forgotten Association and the National Trust will also not take place, with investitures to be rearranged to later dates.

Other events, including a planned State Visit by the Emperor and Empress of Japan, in the coming months, will also be reassessed.

Meanwhile, the Queen's 98-year-old husband Prince Philip has been spending his retirement on the royal Sandringham estate in Norfolk. There are reported plans for the monarch to also be moved there if further measures are required due to the much lower staff levels and limited exposure at Sandringham.

The Queen's grandson Prince Harry is said to be taking "appropriate measures" after he was seen hugging Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton at an event in the UK earlier this month before flying out to join wife Meghan Markle and son Archie in Canada.

Hamilton was pictured with British actor Idris Elba and Sophie Trudeau, the wife of the Canadian Prime Minister both of whom have since tested positive for COVID-19.

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