The Queen is all smiles as she carries out private engagement at Buckingham Palace 

There were no handshakes during the meeting

The Queen held a private audience at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, before she begins her Easter break early amid the coronavirus pandemic. Her Majesty, 93, received Commodore Steven Moorhouse (outgoing Commanding Officer, HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH) and Captain Angus Essenhigh (incoming Commanding Officer) in her private audience room at the palace.

The monarch was dressed in a royal blue shift dress with her signature pearl necklace and Queen Mary's Russian diamond and sapphire brooch. There were no handshakes – only bows from the officers during the meeting. Audiences are brief, one-on-one meetings which happen regularly throughout the Queen's working week.

READ: Why Windsor holds such a special place in the Queen's heart

The Queen and the officers sat on separate seats around the fireplace during the audience

On Tuesday, Buckingham Palace announced changes to the Queen's diary, following the outbreak of COVID-19 across the globe. In a statement, it 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.

"Audiences due to take place this week at Buckingham Palace will go ahead as planned. These include receiving the Prime Minister, the Commanding Officer of HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH and the Bishop of Hereford. Future Audiences will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, in line with the appropriate advice."

It added that the Queen will move to Windsor Castle for her Easter break on Thursday 19 March, one week earlier than planned, and it is likely that she will stay there beyond that period.

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The Queen will stay at Windsor Castle from Thursday

Royal garden parties and the Maundy Service at St George's Chapel in Windsor have been cancelled this year, while further announcements on Trooping the Colour, the 75th anniversary of VE Day and the Japanese state visit will be made in due course.

The Queen was due to carry out public visits to Cheshire and Camden this month, but these have been postponed, along with the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall's tour to Cyprus and Jordan.

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