Royal News

The Queen won’t be wearing a face mask during summer break at Balmoral

The Queen will not be required to wear a face mask at Balmoral despite concerns due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The monarch, 94, travelled to Scotland with the Duke of Edinburgh on Tuesday for her traditional summer break.

Before their arrival, courtiers spent weeks planning how the “new normal” would work at the castle.

Due to the limited number of staff – dubbed HMS Bubble – that are in close contact with her and Philip, 99, no one has to wear a face mask.

Their so-called social bubble includes master of the household Vice-Admiral Tony Johnstone-Burt, the Queen’s private secretary Sir Edward Young and Paul Whybrew and William Henderson, her pages.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman previously said arrangements for the Queen’s stay in Scotland “will be in line with the relevant guidelines and advice”.

The Queen, 94, will not attend church, in a bid to stop well-wishers gathering.

Members of her family will not be allowed to stay in the main house and local staff have had to isolate for two weeks before her visit to ensure they are virus-free.

A forensic cleaning operation is adhered to at all times, including the Queen’s red boxes of state.

In order to enable Her Majesty to ride her beloved fell ponies only one groom is allowed access to her steeds.

The Prime Minister’s traditional visit has also been cancelled – which is believed to have happened for the first time in her reign.

A royal aide said: “Clearly, Her Majesty wanted to go to Balmoral, as normal, for August and September, but it was the practicalities and Government advice, of both England and Scotland, that had to be considered.

“A small number of staff have travelled from Windsor to Balmoral, where effectively a new bubble has been created. Procedures are in place to mitigate any kind of risk. No one has to wear masks in the bubble, as they are deemed safe as one household.

“It’s not the normal Balmoral but they’ll try and make it as normal and enjoyable as possible.”

The Queen and Prince Philip travelled to Balmoral in Aberdeenshire on August 4 and were pictured arriving by car at RAF Northolt in west London ahead of their flight.

Hours after they arrived in Scotland, Aberdeen was put into local lockdown, with pubs and restaurants forced to close.

A five-mile travel rule has been put in place and residents are being told not to enter each other’s houses and indoor and outdoor hospitality venues must close.

Royal Family favourites Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex Prince Harry Queen Elizabeth II Prince Charles

It is believed Prince Charles and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall are likely to be the first visitors at Balmoral as they are in the vicinity, having spent most of lockdown at their Scottish residence, Birkhall.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle reportedly accepted an invitation to visit the Queen at Balmoral in March 2020, but now their trip seems unlikely to go ahead following coronavirus, according to the Daily Express.

Prince William, Kate Duchess of Cambridge and their three children regularly visit for short summer visits and will most likely do so again this year.

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