Saturday, 26 Sep 2020

Queen and Prince Philip: Why couple have a busy week ahead

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Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, have been staying at Balmoral since early August after spending more than three months in lockdown at Windsor Castle. While at Balmoral, their Scottish estate in Aberdeenshire, the royal couple were visited by a number of family members including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Princess Eugenie and her husband, Jack Brooksbank. But now, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will depart Balmoral during the week beginning September 14.

The 94-year-old monarch and her 99-year-old husband will travel to Norfolk to spend time on their privately owned Sandringham Estate, in what is sure to be a busy week for them.

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson told Hello!: “Subject to the finalisation of the Autumn programme, Her Majesty’s intention is to return to Windsor Castle in October and to resume the use of Buckingham Palace for selected audiences and engagements.

“The plans will be kept under review and will of course be subject to all relevant guidance and advice.”

The Queen can look forward to taking some time out of her busy schedule to spend time with her husband in the Norfolk countryside.

After spending time at Sandringham, the Queen will go back to Windsor Castle, where she is expected to commute into the city for engagements at Buckingham Palace.

While Prince Philip was originally due to stay on at Sandringham, a last-minute change of plans means he will join the Queen in Windsor.

Insiders revealed that the Duke of Edinburgh can no longer stay in Norfolk due to a lack of staff to create two bubbles for the monarch and her husband.

Instead, they will holiday together at Wood Farm on the estate as a “compromise” before going home together.

A source told The Sun: “Philip didn’t want to go to Balmoral and doesn’t want to go to Windsor.

“But there is not enough staff to make two bubbles so he is being made to go. It makes far more sense to keep them together.”

The Duke usually lives at Wood Farm cottage while his wife is away working, and has done so since his official retirement in 2017.

Royal bubbles require 24 staff members working in two teams of 12 on a “three weeks on and three weeks off” rota, with another week spent in quarantine.

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Lockdown, did, however do wonder for the Queen’s relationship with her husband, who were said to be as close as ever during the isolation period.

Royal sources say the retired Duke of Edinburgh has privately given the Queen strength to carry on in the wake of a troublesome year for the family.

A source told The Sun: “Everyone who has seen her recently says the Queen appears to have a new lease of life because she loved the chance to spend quality time with Philip again.

“Obviously she has been gravy worried about the nation during the pandemic but those around her have seen how amazing they have been together.

“Because of self isolation and with only a small team of loyal staff dubbed ‘HMS Bubble’, this is the first time the Queen has been able to spend quality time with her husband for years.

“They have been able to relax and finally have the chance to live like regular people aged in their 90s should be able to.

“It has sparked whispers within the palace that now, at 94-years-old, the Queen could step back further and enjoy her life with Philip.

“They haven’t really had a period of time together like this in many years. They have remembered what a good team they are and privately decided they should be separated ever again.”

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