Coronavirus: Royal Family postpones more engagements as UK enters effective lockdown

Rebecca TaylorRoyal Correspondent
Yahoo News UK
The Queen left Buckingham Palace and suspended changing of the guard for the timebeing. (Getty Images)
The Queen left Buckingham Palace and suspended changing of the guard for the timebeing. (Getty Images)

Royal engagements have been postponed across the board as the country, including the Queen and the rest of her family, effectively go into lockdown.

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Until late on Monday evening, there were still a number of engagements listed in the royal diary, including several for Princess Anne, one of the hardest working members of the Royal Family.

But after the Prime Minister’s announcement that public gatherings are banned for at least the next three weeks, all but four engagements have been changed to read that each royal will ‘not now’ attend.

Two are listed to take place on 7 and 8 April, before the next review of the government’s strict measures which mean gatherings of two or more people from different household groups are banned.

But two others are listed for the end of April, including Princess Anne’s appearance at the Royal Dairy Innovation Awards.

The Duke of Gloucester is also still scheduled for an awards night in Kensington. The palace website is being constantly updated.

It comes as Prince William and Kate join other parents up and down the country in home schooling their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

They will have the help of a nanny and are thought to be returning to their Norfolk home rather than stay in Kensington Palace.

Read more: Coronavirus: Prince William and Kate praise NHS staff in visit to 111 call centre

The Queen left Buckingham Palace to go to Windsor on 19 March. (Getty Images)
The Queen left Buckingham Palace to go to Windsor on 19 March. (Getty Images)

Royal expert Katie Nicholl told 9Honey in Australia that William will take on a new role during this time, as both his father and grandmother are limited in what they can do during the pandemic.

She said: “We're seeing William step up in that statesman role. It strikes me as interesting that the first member of the royal family to address the nation has been William.”

Prince William made an address before his grandmother released a statement, in order to help raise awareness of the National Emergencies Trust and encourage donations.

Nicholl said Prince William and Kate would be “best placed” to step up as the Queen does “need to be pretty much in quarantine”.

The Queen is reported to have sent many of her staff members home last week once the severity of the situation became clear.

According to the Daily Mail, she sent home 100 staff members, keeping a skeleton of eight people around her.

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The Mail also reports the Queen and her husband Prince Philip are being looked after by two of her favourite staff - Paul Whybrew and her personal adviser Angela Kelly.

The Royal Family appears to have made an adjustment to social media content, focusing on the coronavirus outbreak and charities helping to fight it.

It used charity Tuesday to draw attention to St John’s Ambulance, who are “fast-tracking volunteers with first aid qualifications and clinical skills”.

The charity is also educating the public to lift the strain on the NHS and sending volunteers to emergency departments.

Read more: Prince Charles offers tenants three-month rent deferral amid coronavirus pandemic

Last week Clarence House issued a statement explaining a reduced capacity for responding to letters from royal fans.

Read more: Coronavirus: How the Queen and her family have been affected?

The statement said: “Please be aware that due to operating restrictions caused by Coronavirus measures, our capacity to deal with correspondence is currently reduced and our ability to reply to letters and cards will take longer than usual, this applies to correspondence for The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.”

The palaces are continuing to follow appropriate advice.

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