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The Queen's unexpected set-up for meeting palace guests revealed

The monarch spoke to ambassadors at Buckingham Palace by video link

Danielle Stacey

The Queen has held her first virtual diplomatic audience in a year of royal firsts for the monarch.

Her Majesty spoke with three ambassadors via video link from Windsor Castle, as they presented their credentials at Buckingham Palace on Friday.

A video screen was placed on a wooden cabinet in the Equerry's Room at the Queen's London residence so the diplomats could speak with the monarch during the virtual audience.

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The monarch, wearing a white dress and a sapphire brooch, sat at her desk in the Oak Room at Windsor. A gold picture frame and a small table could be seen behind her.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: "Diplomatic audiences are a long standing and traditional part of the monarch’s role and the hope has always been to restart them as soon as possible.

"A variety of options were considered in line with current guidelines to reintroduce diplomatic audiences while retaining some of the long-established ceremonial elements, such as the use of Buckingham Palace."

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The Queen spoke from the Oak Room in Windsor Castle

She added: "At this time, in line with medical advice, Her Majesty will conduct diplomatic audiences virtually from Windsor Castle."

The Queen held three separate diplomatic audiences with Sophie Katsarava, ambassador of Georgia, Gil da Costa, ambassador of Timor-Leste also known as East Timor, and Ferenc Kumin, ambassador of Hungary, and his wife Viktoria Kumin.

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The Queen speaks with Gil da Costa, Ambassador of Timor-Leste

The head of state's last audience in person at Buckingham Palace was on 18 March, with Commodore Stephen Moorhouse, the outgoing commanding officer of the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, and his successor Captain Angus Essenhigh.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have been staying at Windsor Castle amid the coronavirus outbreak for most of the year.

They took their traditional break at Balmoral during the summer and spent some time at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk. The couple will also spend Christmas in Windsor for the first time in over 30 years.

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