THE Queen returned to royal duties today – just four days after the death of Prince Philip.
The monarch marked the retirement of her household’s most senior official for her first in-person event since the Duke of Edinburgh’s passing on Friday.
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The Queen returned to royal duties today – just four days after the death of Prince PhilipCredit: PA
She mark the retirement of her household’s most senior official the Earl PeelCredit: PA
She hosted a ceremony as the Earl Peel formally stood down as Lord Chamberlain.
Returning to her official role so soon after her bereavement typifies the Queen’s deep sense of duty and service.
The Duke of York has said his mother is bearing up stoically and the family have been rallying round to support her.
Meanwhile the Duke of Cambridge has pledged to uphold Philip’s wishes and continue to support his grandmother and “get on with the job”.
It was announced at the weekend the monarchy and their households would observe two weeks of royal mourning, with members of the family “continuing to undertake engagements appropriate to the circumstances,” a royal official said.
The Princess Royal took part in her first official event since the death of her father, joining, via video-link, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine’s Spring Conference in her role as the organisation’s patron.
Lord Chamberlain, the Earl Peel, retired after more than 14 years in the postCredit: PA
Returning to her official role so soon after her husband’s death typifies the Queen’s deep sense of duty and serviceCredit: Getty
The Earl Peel had overseen arrangements for the Philip’s funeral – known as Operation Forth Bridge – before handing responsibility to his successor, former MI5 spy chief Baron Parker, just over a week before the duke died peacefully at Windsor Castle.
The Lord Chamberlain’s Office, led by the Queen’s Comptroller Lieutenant Colonel Michael Vernon, is tasked with the practical side of the day.
But in overall charge is Andrew Parker, Baron Parker of Minsmere, who took up his new role on April 1, following the Earl Peel’s retirement after more than 14 years in the post.
The Lord Chamberlain oversees all senior appointments in the household, is the channel of communication between the sovereign and the House of Lords, and ensures co-ordination between Buckingham Palace and Clarence House.
During a ceremony held at Windsor Castle, the Queen accepted her former royal aide’s wand and insignia of office.
The official engagement was recorded in the Court Circular – a daily list of the events attended by the Queen and her family.
It said: “The Earl Peel had an audience of The Queen today, delivered up his Wand and Insignia of Office as Lord Chamberlain and the Badge of Chancellor of the Royal Victorian Order and took leave upon relinquishing his appointment as Lord Chamberlain, when Her Majesty invested him with the Royal Victorian Chain.”
The Queen recently conferred a prestigious honour on the Earl Peel, making him a Permanent Lord in Waiting.
The monarch will continue to attend public engagements following the death of her husbandCredit: AFP or licensors
The monarch will continue to attend public engagements following the death of her husband – a lifelong commitment she has made from a young age.
Prior to the pandemic, the 94-year-old has always carried out a full programme of engagements and has links to more than 600 charities, military associations, professional bodies and public service organisations.
She famously pledged her life to the Commonwealth in a radio address from Cape Town on her 21st birthday in 1947.
As a young woman, the then Princess Elizabeth said: “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”
On February 6, 1952, she acceded to the throne and became the longest-reigning monarch in British history on September 9, 2015, passing the record of more than 63 years set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.
In 2020, as Covid-19 restrictions limited public gatherings, the Queen tried her hand at video calls for virtual events and knighted veteran NHS fundraiser Captain Sir Tom Moore in the grounds of Windsor in July.
She was back to business in October last year in her first public engagement outside of a royal residence since the start of the pandemic at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down near Salisbury.
LIFELONG COMMITTMENT TO DUTY
According to their official website, the royal family carries out more than 2,000 official engagements throughout the UK and overseas every year, and receive and answer about 100,000 letters.
The Duke of Edinburgh retired from public life in 2017, after completing 22,219 solo public engagements since 1952 and many thousands more at the side of his wife.
Since then, the Queen has been joined a number of times by her grandchildren at official events.
In 2019, the monarch worked 67 days, according to the Court Circular, and 63 days the year before.
It was reported yesterday the monarch will not be left to “walk alone” following her husband’s death.
Senior royals will ensure they are by her side at future public engagements after losing her husband of 73 years “left a huge void”, sources claim.
A source told the Daily Mail: “If one parent dies the children – and in this case, grandchildren – all step up and fill in in different ways.
“No single individual could ever take place of the Duke of Edinburgh, but just maybe all of them coming together will fill some of the space he has left behind.”
More to follow…
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