Buckingham Palace has shared images of the queen holding her first ever virtual diplomatic audience, in line with current coronavirus health guidelines in the United Kingdom.
The 94-year-old monarch spoke with three ambassadors who arrived at the palace on Friday, December 4, via a video link from Windsor Castle. A video screen was positioned on a wooden cabinet in the Equerry's Room at Her Majesty's London residence so the queen could receive her special guests.
In one image, the ambassador of Georgia, Sophie Katsarava, could be seen curtsying as she was received by the queen, who wore a white dress and a sapphire brooch. Her Majesty also held meetings with Gil da Costa, ambassador of Timor-Leste, also known as East Timor, and Ferenc Kumin, ambassador of Hungary, and his wife Viktoria Kumin. The monarch was seated behind a desk in Windsor's Oak Room.
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said, "Diplomatic audiences are a long standing and traditional part of the monarch’s role and the hope has always been to restart them as soon as possible. A variety of options were considered in line with current guidelines to reintroduce diplomatic audiences while retaining some of the long-established ceremonial elements, such as the use of Buckingham Palace."
A Virtual Audience with The Queen.
🇭🇺 His Excellency Dr. Ferenc Kumin, Ambassador from Hungary, and his wife Mrs Kumin, were received by Her Majesty via video link at Windsor Castle. pic.twitter.com/XuTdaBJIbZ
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) December 4, 2020
They added, "At this time, in line with medical advice, Her Majesty will conduct diplomatic audiences virtually from Windsor Castle."
The queen and Prince Philip returned to Windsor Castle ahead of the second U.K. lockdown in November. Windsor Castle is where the royal couple resided during the first few months of the pandemic and remained until August, when they then headed to Balmoral Castle in Scotland for their summer break. Her Majesty and the duke then relocated to Sandringham, parting ways briefly, and then returning to Windsor Castle together.
The queen has carried out the majority of her duties remotely and at home during the global health crisis, including adapting to video calls for remote engagements and royal meetings.
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