The Queen to retreat to Windsor for early Easter holiday amid coronavirus pandemic

Buckingham Palace has announced changes to Her Majesty's diary

The Queen will start her Easter break earlier than usual due to the coronavirus pandemic, Buckingham Palace confirmed on Tuesday. In a statement, the palace said: "Her Majesty will move to Windsor Castle for the Easter period on Thursday 19th March, one week earlier than planned. It is likely the Queen will stay there beyond the Easter period."

READ: One of the Queen's favourite events cancelled amid coronavirus outbreak

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WATCH: The royals attend church on Easter Sunday 2019

Up until now, the 93-year-old monarch has only been spending weekends at her Windsor residence, returning to London during the week to carry out her royal duties. In a lengthy statement, Buckingham Palace said: "As a sensible precaution and for practical reasons in the current circumstances, a number of changes are being made to the Queen’s diary."

The royal garden parties at Buckingham Palace in May will no longer take place, nor will the Maundy Service at St George's Chapel in Windsor on 9 April. The statement added that while audiences at Buckingham Palace this week will go ahead, future events will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, while announcements on the Queen's upcoming birthday parade, known as Trooping the Colour, the 75th anniversary of VE Day and the Japanese State Visit will be made in due course in line with the government. 

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The Queen is usually joined by her family at Easter

The UK government is currently advising people to work from home and to take social distancing measures. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has also advised against all non-essential international travel, initially for a period of 30 days.

The Queen and members of the royal family usually attend an Easter Sunday church service in Windsor, but it has not been confirmed at this stage, whether this will go ahead. Her Majesty is usually joined by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren over the Easter period, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Zara Tindall, Peter Phillips, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.

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