The Queen carried out her first official in-person event of the year on Thursday as her husband, Prince Philip, prepared to spend his third night in hospital.
Her Majesty made one of her most senior royal aides, Vice-Admiral Sir Tony Johnstone-Burt, a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (RVO).
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He was awarded the honour on Thursday afternoon during a private, socially distanced ceremony at Windsor Castle where the Queen has been spending the lockdown.
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Sir Tony is Master of the Household, running a department responsible for everything involved in official and private entertaining across all the royal residences.
He is sometimes seen in public and carried Captain Sir Tom Moore's Knight Bachelor insignia ahead of the ceremony before he was knighted by the Queen last summer.
He was also present when a scaled-down ceremony – dubbed a mini Trooping – was held last June to mark the Queen’s official birthday.
Awards under the RVO are in the Queen’s gift and are bestowed independently of Downing Street to people who have served the monarch or the Royal Family in a personal way.
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Her Majesty has remained at Windsor Castle
The ceremony occurred as Prince Philip remained at King Edward VII Hospital in London after being admitted on Tuesday.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Buckingham Palace said: "The Duke’s admission is a precautionary measure, on the advice of His Royal Highness’s Doctor, after feeling unwell.
"The Duke is expected to remain in hospital for a few days of observation and rest."
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Philip's last public appearance in July 2020
HELLO! understands that Prince Philip, who is said to be in "good spirits", walked into hospital by himself after travelling by car and that it was not an emergency admission. The stay in hospital is purely precautionary and the illness is not COVID-19 related.
The Queen has remained at Windsor Castle where she and her husband have been spending lockdown. On Wednesday, she carried out an engagement, speaking by phone to Admiral Tony Radakin, the First Sea Lord of the Royal Navy. The royal family's Twitter account confirmed her virtual call shortly after Philip's hospitalisation was announced.
The monarch will celebrate her 95th birthday in April, while Philip is set to mark his 100th birthday on 10 June.
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