Queen axes all big events at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle for the year

Buckingham Palace has said no “large-scale events” like investitures will be held at the Queen’s official London residence or Windsor Castle for the rest of the year.

Explaining the decision, Buckingham Palace said it had been taken in line with “current government guidelines, and as a sensible precaution in the current circumstances”.

The Queen still intends to use the palace for audiences and engagements but rising coronavirus cases and the “rule of six” restrictions on gatherings indoors appear to have prompted the move.

Buckingham Palace said on its website: “In line with current government guidelines, and as a sensible precaution in the current circumstances, there will be no large scale events held at Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle for the rest of the year.

“A variety of possibilities were examined to see if it was possible for Investitures to safely take place in line with the guidelines.

“Sadly, due to the large numbers of guests and recipients attending, it was not possible to find a way of safely delivering these events in the current circumstances. Recipients will be contacted directly.

“The Queen’s intention remains to return to Windsor Castle in October and to resume the use of Buckingham Palace during an Autumn programme of Audiences and engagements, in line with all relevant guidance and advice.”

The head of state is at Sandringham with the Duke of Edinburgh and is expected to move to Windsor Castle in the coming weeks.

Investitures have not been held since the lockdown was announced in late March, although the Queen hosted a special open-air ceremony in July to knight veteran NHS fundraiser Captain Sir Tom Moore.

The glittering diplomatic reception attended by around 1,000 guests every autumn is expected to be cancelled but one-off events that were planned are likely to be staged in 2021, if Government guidelines allow.

Investiture recipients have a number of options, from waiting for their ceremony to be re-staged next year to being presented with their honour by their local Lord Lieutenant – the Queen’s representative.

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A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: “Recipients who wish to attend a physical ceremony will be offered the opportunity to do so when the relevant guidance and advice allows. The format may be slightly different, depending on guidelines in place at the time.

“If recipients prefer to receive their honour in a shorter time frame they will be offered the option of a local presentation by the Lord-Lieutenant where restrictions allow, or to receive their insignia in the post.”

These options were available to recipients of honours like knighthoods and MBEs before the pandemic.