Coronavirus forces Queen to flee London and hole up in Windsor Castle

The Queen is leaving Buckingham Palace to hole up in Windsor Castle as the coronavirus outbreak grips Britain.

The Palace has announced the Queen will move to her Berkshire residence a week earlier than planned for the Easter period.

She will also remain at Windsor for the foreseeable future due to the Covid-19 pandemic that is sweeping the nation.

Buckingham Palace say the move is being made "as a sensible precaution in the current circumstances".

It said in a statement: "As a sensible precaution and for practical reasons in the current circumstances, a number of changes are being made to The Queen’s 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."

The Palace also said a number of royal engagements that members of the Royal Family were due to attend are also being cancelled, including the Queen's garden parties.

It said: "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 annual Maundy Service at St George’s Chapel on 9th April will not go ahead. Three Garden Parties hosted by The Queen, due to be held at Buckingham Palace in May, will now not take place.

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"Guests already invited to these Garden Parties will be asked to attend in 2021. Two additional Garden Parties given for the Not Forgotten Association and the National Trust will also not take place. Investitures will be rearranged to later dates.

"Further announcements on Trooping the Colour, the 75th anniversary of VE Day and the State Visit by the Emperor and Empress of Japan will be made in due course, in consultation with Government."

The Palace said that some duties will continue but not involve the Royal Family.

It said: "Audiences due to take place this week at Buckingham Palace will go ahead as planned.

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"These include receiving the Prime Minister, the Commanding Officer of HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH and the Bishop of Hereford. Future Audiences will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, in line with the appropriate advice."

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday pushed the nation closer to a lockdown as he urged Brits to stop non-essential travel and contact with others.

He also urged people not to visit pubs, restaurants and theatres and told people over 70 or with underlying health conditions to stay at home for 12 weeks.

And he told the nation that if one person within a household shows symptoms of Covid-19, the entire household must then isolate for two weeks.

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Today also saw the coronavirus badly hit the High Street with Laura Ashley collapsing into administration and the Carphone Warehouse closing all its stores.

Meanwhile the UK's chief scientific officer revealed today that up to 50,000 people are feared to have contracted the coronavirus in the country.

He also sent a stark warning that up to 20,000 people could die from the disease – with the death toll in the UK standing at 55 as of 2pm this afternoon.

  • Royal Family
  • Queen
  • Coronavirus

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