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Philip joins Queen at Windsor Castle as monarch leaves London

The duke has been staying on the Sandringham estate.


The Queen leaving London (Aaron Chown/PA)

The Queen leaving London (Aaron Chown/PA)

The Queen leaving London (Aaron Chown/PA)

The Queen has been reunited with the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle after leaving London as she socially distances herself amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Philip, 98, was flown by helicopter from the Sandringham estate where he has been staying in his secluded Wood Farm cottage.

The monarch departed Buckingham Palace on Thursday for the Berkshire royal residence, accompanied by her two dorgis.

State visit to France
The Queen and Philip have been married for more than 70 years (Owen Humphreys/PA)

The duke, who has retired from public duties, had always planned to join his wife for Easter Court, but has arrived a week early to coincide with her movements.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: “The Duke of Edinburgh has arrived at Windsor Castle to join the Queen for Easter Court, as planned.”

The Queen, 93, was casually dressed in a cardigan and a navy padded gilet as she was driven away from the palace.

One of the Queen’s dorgis – she has two named Candy and Vulcan – could be seen next to her as they both looked out of the car window.

The Queen
The Queen will be at Windsor for an extended period amid the coronavirus pandemic (Aaron Chown/PA)

The Queen carried out official duties the day before her planned departure, but held her weekly audience with Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the phone rather than face-to-face as usual.

Her Wednesday audience with the PM will, for the foreseeable future, take place via the telephone.

The advanced age of both the Queen, who is the nation’s longest reigning monarch, and Philip mean they are more at risk of complications if they catch the Covid-19 illness.

Princess Eugenie's wedding
The Queen and Philip after Princess Eugenie’s wedding in October (Alastair Grant/PA)

The royal couple will be based at Windsor with a reduced number of staff as a precaution, and will be following the advice of their Medical Household and the Government.

Mr Johnson has called on everyone in the UK, particularly the over-70s, to avoid all non-essential contact and travel as part of unprecedented peacetime measures aimed at controlling the spread of the coronavirus.

The Queen and the duke have been married for more than 70 years.

The royal wedding
The princess and Philip on their wedding day (PA)

Princess Elizabeth was only 21 when she walked up the aisle on November 20 1947 to wed Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten in Westminster Abbey.

The royal couple’s relationship has lasted the longest of any British sovereign, and Philip has been at the Queen’s side through the decades, supporting her as she devotes herself to her duties as head of state.

Their compatibility and shared interests has led to a successful long marriage – despite their contrasting personalities – with Philip seen as adventurous and tempestuous, and the Queen as more passive, cautious and conventional.

The duke is the longest serving consort in British history.

Windsor is the Queen’s favourite home when she is not away during the summer and at Christmas.

Windsor Castle
The Queen is retreating to Windsor Castle in Berkshire (Steve Parsons/PA)

The castle is closing to tourists on Saturday and Buckingham Palace has said public royal events with large numbers of people in the coming months will be cancelled or postponed.

The State Visit by the Japanese Emperor, who was to stay with the Queen at Windsor in May, was officially postponed on Thursday.

The annual Maundy Service, where the Queen hands out Maundy money on the Thursday before Easter, was due to take place at Windsor’s St George’s Chapel, but has also been called off, as have investitures and London garden parties.

Royal Maundy Service
The Queen distributes Maundy money last year (Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA)

Princess Beatrice has cancelled her royal wedding reception in the palace gardens in May but is still planning to wed in a small private ceremony if possible.

The Queen and Philip are not the only members of the royal family affected by the Government’s advice on social distancing.

The Prince of Wales is 71 and the Duchess of Cornwall is 72.

A source added of Charles: “The prince is operating as close to business as usual as possible at the moment.”

The prince, who was once described by Camilla as “not one for chilling”, is known for his busy work schedule.

His Clarence House team are working mostly remotely, having set up a virtual, digital office.

Other older royals who usually carry out official duties include the Queen’s cousins the Duke of Gloucester, 75, the Duke of Kent, 84, and Princess Alexandra, 83.

The Queen and her corgis
The Queen cuddling her corgis at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 1973 (PA)

Meanwhile Monaco’s ruler, Prince Albert II, has tested positive for coronavirus.

Albert was at a WaterAid event in London with Charles on March 10, but was not believed to have been in close contact with the prince.

Dorgis are a cross between a corgi and a dachshund.

The Queen introduced the new breed of dog to the royal household when her corgi Tiny was mated with a dachshund called Pipkin which belonged to her sister Princess Margaret.

The Queen is known for her love of dogs and horses, and famed for her association with corgis.

She has owned more than 30 Welsh corgis.

Her final one, Whisper, who was adopted following the death of his owner, a former Sandringham gamekeeper, died in October 2018.