Queen Elizabeth II hosted Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Buckingham Palace in London on Wednesday for the pair’s first weekly in-person audience since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
The 95-year-old queen has received the prime minister for weekly audiences throughout her long reign and has been in contact with Johnson since March last year, when the first lockdown measures were implemented.
The Queen also spoke personally to the prime minister earlier this month during a meeting with world leaders at the UK-hosted G7 summit in Cornwall, south-west England.
But the return of the face-to-face meeting, during which the Queen wore a lilac dress, was seen as a return to normality at her official residence in central London.
At the start of the pandemic, the Queen moved with her husband Prince Philip, 99, to Windsor Castle, west of London.
The royal family dubbed the “HMS Bubble” the social distancing system created to protect the elderly royals.
According to reports, following Philip’s death in April, the Queen will now spend most of her time at the Berkshire residence.
The first in-person presentation of the Investment Awards also took place on Thursday by his eldest son and heir Prince Charles at a small ceremony at nearby St. James’s Palace.
The 32 recipients wore face coverings, there were no spectators present and the prizes being presented were limited to one guest each.
The UK returned to relative normality despite rising levels of coronavirus cases, driven by a new delta variant of the disease first identified in India.
Government data on Wednesday showed just over 16,000 cases were reported in the last 24 hours – a daily increase of over 5,000 on Tuesday since February.
There were 19 more deaths, bringing the UK’s total death toll to more than 128,000 since the start of the pandemic.
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