Queen seen via videolink conducting first engagements since Prince Philip’s funeral


The Queen‘s stoic spirit shone through today as she returned to work with a beaming smile in her first photographed engagements since the funeral of he beloved Prince Philip.

No longer dressed in a black mourning outfit, the monarch, 95, was seen via videolink from Windsor Castle while welcoming dignitaries to Buckingham Palace.

Appearing on screen dressed in a pale blue floral dress, with pearls, she held a virtual audience to receive Her Excellency Ivita Burmistre, the Ambassador of Latvia, at Buckingham Palace. 

She also received Her Excellency Sara Affoue Amani, the Ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire, during the virtual meeting.

It comes 10 days after the funeral of her husband Prince Philip, who died at the age of 99 earlier this month. 

The Queen has returned to work as she today conducted her first engagements since Prince Philip’s funeral

She appeared on screen with a beaming smile during a virtual audience to receive Her Excellency Ivita Burmistre, the Ambassador of Latvia, at Buckingham Palace

She also received Her Excellency Sara Affoue Amani, the Ambassador of Cote d'Ivoire, at Buckingham Palace

She also received Her Excellency Sara Affoue Amani, the Ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire, at Buckingham Palace

It comes after the funeral of her husband Prince Philip, who died at the age of 99 earlier this month. Pictured: The Queen at the funeral of her beloved husband Prince Philip on April 17

It comes after the funeral of her husband Prince Philip, who died at the age of 99 earlier this month. Pictured: The Queen at the funeral of her beloved husband Prince Philip on April 17

Though it is the first time the Queen has been photographed working since the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, on April 17, it is not the first time she has been back to work since his death.

The Queen stoically returned to royal duties just four days after the death of the Duke of Edinburgh on April 9.

On that occasion she attended retirement ceremony for the former Lord Chamberlain Earl Peel on Tuesday. 

Then, in her second official engagement since Prince Philip’s death, she welcomed her new Lord Chamberlain to his post.

Notably, in her most recent appearance today the Queen was pictured no longer in a black mourning outfit.

She was dressed in a pale blue floral dress which featured large purple, white and yellow flowers, with a three-string pearl necklace and a diamond brooch as accessories. 

Two weeks of royal mourning in memory of the Queen’s husband of 73 years ended for the monarchy and their households on Friday April 23, meaning the Windsors were allowed to go back to work full-time.

The royal family gathered for a poignant final farewell to Philip on April 17 at a socially-distanced funeral service in St George’s Chapel, with the Queen pictured sat alone as she grieved for her consort. 

The Queen turned 95 just 12 days after the duke died and used her birthday to release a message thanking well-wishers for their tribute to Philip.

She said she and her family were in a ‘period of great sadness’ but were comforted by words of praise for the duke.

‘We have been deeply touched and continue to be reminded that Philip had such an extraordinary impact on countless people throughout his life,’ she added.

The Queen appears on a screen by videolink from Windsor Castle, where she is in residence, during a virtual audience to receive Her Excellency Sara Affoue Amani, the Ambassador of Cote d'Ivoire

The Queen appears on a screen by videolink from Windsor Castle, where she is in residence, during a virtual audience to receive Her Excellency Sara Affoue Amani, the Ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire

It was all smiles for both the Queen and Her Excellency Ivita Burmistre, the Ambassador of Latvia during the virtual meeting at Buckingham Palace today

It was all smiles for both the Queen and Her Excellency Ivita Burmistre, the Ambassador of Latvia during the virtual meeting at Buckingham Palace today

Ivita Burmistre, ambassador from the Republic of Latvia, presented the Letters of Recall of her predecessor and her own Letters of Credence at the audience, as did Sara Affoue Amani, ambassador from the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire.

Earlier this month, and just four days after the death of Prince Philip, the Queen bid farewell to Earl Peel – a key royal aide who retired after 14 years of service.

Earl Peel was the Lord Chamberlain – the most senior officer role in the royal household.

He had overseen arrangements for the duke’s funeral before handing responsibility to his successor, former MI5 spy chief Baron Parker, just over a week before Philip died peacefully at Windsor Castle. 

While the Queen has returned to work following her husband's death, she is unlikely to return to her hectic schedule of busy meetings, garden parties and receptions, and may only go to Buckingham Palace two days a week for meetings. The Queen and Prince Philip are pictured in Windsor Castle's quadrangle in June 2020 to mark the Duke's 99th birthday

While the Queen has returned to work following her husband’s death, she is unlikely to return to her hectic schedule of busy meetings, garden parties and receptions, and may only go to Buckingham Palace two days a week for meetings. The Queen and Prince Philip are pictured in Windsor Castle’s quadrangle in June 2020 to mark the Duke’s 99th birthday

Baron Parker officially took up his new role on April 1, following the Earl Peel’s retirement after more than 14 years in the post.

After saying goodbye to Earl Peel, days later the Queen welcomed Baron Parker into the role in her second official engagement since Prince Philip’s death.

It comes as a former BBC royal correspondent claimed the Queen is now set to step back from royal duties as she prepares for a future without Prince Philip

The Queen is expected to let her children take on more responsibility within the firm.

Speaking to the New York Times,  Peter Hunt, who worked as at the BBC until 2017, said: ‘Fundamentally, the Queen will fade away gracefully

‘Covid has helped in the sense that it has accelerated what any sensible 95-year-old woman would want to do, which is not stand on your feet all day long’.

He added that while the Queen has returned to work following her husband’s death, she is unlikely to return to her hectic schedule of busy meetings, garden parties and receptions, and may only go to Buckingham Palace two days a week for meetings.

Instead she is likely to stay at Windsor Castle, where she has been in quarantine for most of the last year.  

Prince Charles will likely take on more duties, including joining his mother in the state opening on parliament next month.

The monarch has overseen every one of the constitutional set pieces since taking the throne in 1952, apart from in 1959 and 1963 when she was pregnant with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward respectively.

While the Duke of Edinburgh only missed the event once, 12 months before he retired in 2018, when he was hospitalised.

It comes as a royal expert claimed Prince Charles wants to slim the monarchy down in order to save money.

Royal biographer Angela Levin said the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – who currently live in an £11million mansion in California with their son Archie could be ‘cut’ from The Firm, with a shrunk down version just including Charles, Camilla, William, Kate Middleton, Princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte as senior royals.

The Queen will attend the State Opening of Parliament in May accompanied by her son Prince Charles, who has supported her at the ceremonial event since his father retired in 2018

The Queen will attend the State Opening of Parliament in May accompanied by her son Prince Charles, who has supported her at the ceremonial event since his father retired in 2018

Other royals could be encouraged to take on paid work to help support themselves – and may lose their titles and patronages. 

Ms Levin said on talkRADIO: ‘Prince Charles has wanted for a very long time to cut the monarchy down to save costs and to make people be worth the money that they got from the taxpayer.

‘I imagine that might be when Harry and Meghan are ditched from being members of the Royal family. 

‘I think the outer edge, which the Queen has wanted to keep together for a very long time for sentimental reasons, which at her age she didn’t really particularly want change which I think is understandable.

‘But he wants to change and I think he will do that.’  

Sophie Wessex praises Queen for taking a ‘personal interest’ in all her family’s projects and says her mother-in-law ‘loves when people get together and make things happen’

By Jessica Green for MailOnline 

The Countess of Wessex has said the Queen ‘loves it when people get together and make things happen’ as she celebrated The Gambia’s achievement of becoming trachoma free.

Sophie, who is a global ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), held a video call last month ahead of the official announcement, and described the news as ‘wonderful’.

The Countess of Wessex has said the Queen (pictured together in 2019) 'loves it when people get together and make things happen' as she celebrated The Gambia's achievement of becoming trachoma free

The Countess of Wessex has said the Queen (pictured together in 2019) ‘loves it when people get together and make things happen’ as she celebrated The Gambia’s achievement of becoming trachoma free

The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed last week that The Gambia had successfully eliminated trachoma – which is a type of bacterial eye infection and the world’s number one infectious cause of blindness. 

Sophie (pictured), who is a global ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), held a video call last month ahead of the official announcement, and described the news as 'wonderful'

Sophie (pictured), who is a global ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), held a video call last month ahead of the official announcement, and described the news as ‘wonderful’

Sophie, 56, also praised the Queen, who is now mourning the loss of the Duke of Edinburgh, for her support for tackling avoidable blindness across the Commonwealth. 

She said the monarch had taken a personal interest and ‘loves it when people get together and make things happen’.

The countess revealed: ‘Her Majesty is so supportive of this kind of work. For her to have chosen sight as the main pillar of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust Fund during its time was so reaffirming.

‘She has genuinely taken a personal interest in that work. 

‘When I was travelling on her behalf to be able to come back and tell her what I’ve seen, what I’ve learnt, the work that was going on … she loves collaboration; she loves it when people get together and make things happen.’

What is trachoma? 

Trachoma is a type of bacterial eye infection and the world’s number one infectious cause of blindness.

The bacterial infection can, if left untreated, cause irreversible blindness. Some 137million people are at risk of trachoma globally.

It is a public health problem in 44 countries, and responsible for the blindness or visual impairment of about 1.9million people.

The disease is caused by infection with the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. 

Commenting on the news, the countess added: ‘In our lifetime, to see something that has been so prevalent and has destroyed so many lives actually being beaten is wonderful.’

She continued: ‘Without the commitment from the top down and the bottom up, none of this would have come about. We stand in awe of what has been achieved.’  

In October, the Queen and her daughter-in-law joined a call with eye health professionals throughout the Commonwealth to mark World Sight Day.

At the end of March, Sophie spoke with key representatives from The Gambian government, including vice-president Isatou Touray, and the international community, who have collaborated for decades to fight the disease.

The country’s ministry of health has worked with organisations including the International Trachoma Initiative, WHO, the Medical Research Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Unicef and Sightsavers.

The bacterial infection can, if left untreated, cause irreversible blindness. Some 137million people are at risk of trachoma globally.

It is a public health problem in 44 countries, and responsible for the blindness or visual impairment of about 1.9million people. 

The Earl and Countess of Wessex, with their daughter Lady Louise Windsor, during a television interview at the Royal Chapel of All Saints, Windsor, following the announcement on Friday April 9, of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh at the age of 99

The Earl and Countess of Wessex, with their daughter Lady Louise Windsor, during a television interview at the Royal Chapel of All Saints, Windsor, following the announcement on Friday April 9, of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh at the age of 99 

Meanwhile, Sophie is one of four loyal, discreet and ‘utterly trustworthy’ women of the Queen’s inner circle who are offering crucial support as she faces life without her beloved Prince Philip, who died on April 9, aged 99.

‘Sophie is like another daughter to the Queen, they are that close,’ said a royal source. ‘She is trusted and relied on like few others.’ 

The pair are said to speak at least once a day and enjoy regular Saturday ‘movie afternoons’ when they watch old films together. 

 



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