Saturday, 15 May 2021

Why Buckingham Palace is boarded up with the Queen ‘unlikely to ever return’

The coronavirus pandemic has upended normal life for the Royal Family.

Buckingham Palace is boarded up, the Royal Standard flag hasn't flown for months and the Queen may never return to her official London working residence.

Her Majesty has lived in the palace for most of her life and raised all four of her children within its walls.

But in March she and Prince Philip had to flee the capital and relocate to Windsor Castle in Berkshire.

At 94 and 99 respectively, the couple qualifies for the "at risk" segment of the population for whom Covid-19 is more likely to be life-threatening, so the decision was made to move them away from what was then the epicentre of the outbreak.

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The Queen is currently enjoying her traditional summer break in Balmoral, but it's believed she won't return to Buckingham Palace once the holiday is over — and the Royal Standard flag that flies above the Palace when she's home may never be raised again.

What was thought to be a temporary move for safety reasons has dragged on for almost six months, and the Covid-19 pandemic shows no signs of slowing down.

The Government has had to U-turn on a number of hygiene policies like mandatory masks in schools as the virus' R rate surged over 1 in the UK.

The Queen has been informed the safest thing to do is to return to Windsor Castle where she will be served by a close-knit "bubble of household staff, reducing her risk of infection, the Mirror reports.

Her Majesty would reportedly like the opportunity to "commute" to London for royal engagements, but only once the threat of Covid-19 has eased sufficiently — and there's no telling when that might be.

Dan Wootton, executive editor of The Sun, recently commented on how "sad" it was that it's "highly likely" Her Majesty has left Buckingham Palace for the last time.

"It is particularly devastating for the Queen, in the twilight years of her life, when she wants to keep working," he told True Royalty TV.

"So many things that she loves to do have been taken away from her. She does not want to stay essentially a prisoner at Windsor Castle.

"It is highly likely that the Queen will not live at Buckingham Palace again."

He added: "It is true that she much prefers Balmoral and Windsor Castle but it's about the fact that she can't do the work she wants to do from there. It's not the same."

Londoners have reported seeing boarded up windows at Buckingham Palace in recent months, which many have interpreted as a sign the Queen is never coming back or even that the palace will no longer be used by the Royal Family.

Heir to the throne Prince Charles has reportedly made his dislike of the palace clear, indicating he has no interest in moving in now or even once he's king.

"I know he is no fan of 'the big house', as he calls the palace," a source told The Sunday Times.

"He doesn't see it as a viable future home or a house that's fit for purpose in the modern world. He feels its upkeep, both from a cost and environmental perspective, is not sustainable."

However the boarded up windows in fact have nothing to do with either the Queen or the Prince — the palace is simply undergoing renovations in some areas.

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