The United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II, who survived a World War, the rise and fall of Communism, and countless Prime Ministers, will weather yet another global storm, according to a spokesperson for the senior royal, and will stay at her primary London residence, Buckingham Palace, amid the global panic over coronavirus, rather than flee to rural digs.
A “royal source” reportedly spoke to the UK tabloid, The Sun, over the weekend, claiming that the Queen was being moved from Buckingham Palace to her more rural headquarters, Windsor Castle, in order to keep the 93-year-old monarch safe from illness. The same “royal source” also claimed that Queen Elizabeth would move further afield, to her secluded summer home near Sandringham, on the country’s eastern coast, if the virus came too close.
“She is in good health but it was thought best to move her. A lot of her staff are a bit panicky over coronavirus,” the Sun said. “The Palace hosts a constant stream of visitors including politicians and dignitaries from around the world,” the insider continued.
“The Queen has met a lot of people there until recently. But she is weeks away from her 94th birthday and advisers believe it is best to get her out of harm’s way.”
The Queen’s representatives, however, say that’s simply not true. Queen Elizabeth has been a source of strength for the British people through decades of crisis and she doesn’t plan on stopping now.
Although the Queen did travel out to Windsor Castle for the weekend, the Palace says the trip was a pre-planned weekend excursion and the Queen has returned to her London home.
“[T]he trip was part of the Queen’s regular weekend residence at Windsor and that she is expected back at the palace this week as usual,” per Metro.co.uk.
That’s not to say that the Queen is going about business as usual. The Palace released a statement last week noting that, “[a]s a sensible precaution and for practical reasons in the current circumstances, changes are being made to The Queen’s diary commitments in the coming weeks,” and she will resist the urge to shake hands with dignitaries, even if that is what protocol technically dictates.
“Prince Charles and Camilla also postponed their spring tour to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, and Jordan, which a spokesman said was ‘owing to the unfolding situation with the Coronavirus pandemic.'” Other royal events “will be reviewed on an ongoing basis in line with the appropriate advice,” per Buckingham Palace.
The Royal Family, including the Queen and her father, King George VI, pride themselves on being examples of strength and resilience in times of trouble. Although King George VI could have easily sought shelter during the Blitzkrieg, the Nazi air attack that blanketed London in bombs, leaving the city nearly in ruins, he and his family — including his daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret (then both princesses) — remained in Buckingham Palace, in the thick of the attack.
In the Queen Mother’s official biography, she tells of a bomb attack that whizzed right past Palace windows, nearly killing her and her husband.
“She was ‘battling’ to remove an errant eyelash from the King’s eye, when they heard the ‘unmistakable whirr-whirr of a German plane’ and then the ‘scream of a bomb,'” she said in an excerpt of the book released to the Guardian. “It all happened so quickly that we had only time to look foolishly at each other when the scream hurtled past us and exploded with a tremendous crash in the quadrangle.”