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Queen returns to royal duties four days after Prince Philip’s death

Vincent Wood
·2 min read
 (AP)
(AP)

The Queen has attended her first royal event following the death of Prince Philip amid a period of mourning for the departed Duke of Edinburgh.

The monarch held her first in-person event since Philip’s passing on Friday, hosting a ceremony to mark the retirement of her household’s most senior official, the Earl Peel, who formally stood down as Lord Chamberlain.

The holder of the title 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.

The Earl Peel had also overseen arrangements for the duke’s funeral - known as Operation Forth Bridge - before handing responsibility to his successor, former MI5 spy chief Baron Parker, just over a week before Philip 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.

Watch: Prince Philip and the Queen's marriage

The Queen recently conferred a prestigious honour on the Earl Peel, making him a Permanent Lord in Waiting.

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 Armed Forces are stepping up preparations for the duke’s funeral which will feature servicemen and women from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and RAF - alongside top military brass.

Soldiers from the Corps of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) are reportedly working to prepare the special Land Rover - that the duke helped design - which will carry his coffin on Saturday.

Lieutenant General Paul Jaques, who served with REME, said about the duke, his unit’s former colonel-in-chief: “He was engaged with us and used to visit us probably once or twice every single year since 1969.

“And he had an enormous passion for all things engineering. In his own words ‘If it wasn’t invented by God, it was invented by an engineer”’

Watch: The wonderful life of Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh

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