Queen joined by members of Royal Family to give a Christmas thank you to key workers

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·Royal Correspondent
·4-min read
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Watch: Queen joins Royal Family to thank volunteers at Windsor

The Queen has been joined by three of her children and her grandson Prince William for a Christmas carol event to thank key workers and volunteers for their work during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Queen, 94, hosted her son, Prince Charles, and his wife Camilla, her daughter Princess Anne, as well as her youngest son Prince Edward and his wife Sophie and grandson Prince William and wife Kate on Tuesday afternoon in the open air Quadrangle at Windsor Castle.

To kick off the afternoon, the Salvation Army band played Hark The Herald Angels Sing and The First Noel, and the Queen could be seen quietly singing along.

She stayed to thank the band and as she turned back into the castle, William was heard saying: “Bye, Gran.”

The event marked the final stop on the whistle stop tour on the royal train which William and Kate have taken on over the last three days.

Prince William and Kate left Euston on Sunday evening, heading for Scotland, and since then have travelled around the country thanking different groups of people for their help in the response to coronavirus in the UK.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) and Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (C) thank local volunteers and key workers for the work they are doing during the coronavirus pandemic and over Christmas in the quadrangle of Windsor Castle in Windsor, west of London, on December 8, 2020 - The Queen and members of the royal family gave thanks to local volunteers and key workers for their work in helping others during the coronavirus pandemic and over Christmas at Windsor Castle in what was also the final stop for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their tour of England, Wales and Scotland. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / various sources / AFP) (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
The Queen and Charles thanked local volunteers and key workers for the work they are doing during the coronavirus pandemic and over Christmas. (Glyn Kirk/AFP)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) talks with Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, (2L) and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, as they wait to thank local volunteers and key workers for the work they are doing during the coronavirus pandemic and over Christmas in the quadrangle of Windsor Castle in Windsor, west of London, on December 8, 2020 - The Queen and members of the royal family gave thanks to local volunteers and key workers for their work in helping others during the coronavirus pandemic and over Christmas at Windsor Castle in what was also the final stop for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their tour of England, Wales and Scotland. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / POOL / AFP) (Photo by GLYN KIRK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
William and Kate finished off their UK tour with the Windsor Castle event. (Glyn Kirk/AFP)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II stands with Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, (L) and Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (R) as they thank local volunteers and key workers for the work they are doing during the coronavirus pandemic and over Christmas in the quadrangle of Windsor Castle in Windsor, west of London, on December 8, 2020 - The Queen and members of the royal family gave thanks to local volunteers and key workers for their work in helping others during the coronavirus pandemic and over Christmas at Windsor Castle in what was also the final stop for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their tour of England, Wales and Scotland. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / various sources / AFP) (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
The Queen was able to make the rare appearance outside on Tuesday evening. (Glyn Kirk/AFP)

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The Queen and the royal party listened to Christmas carols, before meeting Commissioners Anthony and Gillian Cotterill – the Territorial leaders of The Salvation Army in the UK and Ireland.

Mr Cotterill said: “The Queen was saying she was just so happy we were able to play some carols because she thinks this will be the only time she’ll be able to hear carols, and she was disappointed we didn’t sing.

“Sometimes we’re playing musicians and other times we’re a choir, at an event like this it’s better to have the band as you can hear it for miles.”

Mrs Cotterill added: “I did see the Queen mouthing some of the words – so that was nice.”

The Queen wore a ‘Christmas red’ coat by Angela Kelly, and red gloves, and carried her black bag. The Duchess of Cambridge, who had worn a red coat all day, changed into a dark green coat before arriving at the castle.

The Queen thanked the band and the Salvation Army for their work over Christmas.

The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Anne, the Earl and Countess of Wessex and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge then spent time thanking volunteers from organisations and charities in Berkshire who will be working or volunteering over Christmas.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) talks with Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (2R) and Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall as they wait to thank local volunteers and key workers for the work they are doing during the coronavirus pandemic and over Christmas in the quadrangle of Windsor Castle in Windsor, west of London, on December 8, 2020 - The Queen and members of the royal family gave thanks to local volunteers and key workers for their work in helping others during the coronavirus pandemic and over Christmas at Windsor Castle in what was also the final stop for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their tour of England, Wales and Scotland. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / POOL / AFP) (Photo by GLYN KIRK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
She was joined by Charles and Camilla for the event. (Glyn Kirk/AFP)
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, (R) and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (L), wearing protective face coverings to combat the spread of the coronavirus, attend an event to thank local volunteers and key workers for the work they are doing during the coronavirus pandemic and over Christmas in the quadrangle of Windsor Castle in Windsor, west of London, on December 8, 2020 - The Queen and members of the royal family gave thanks to local volunteers and key workers for their work in helping others during the coronavirus pandemic and over Christmas at Windsor Castle in what was also the final stop for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their tour of England, Wales and Scotland. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / various sources / AFP) (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
William and Kate wore face coverings at an event to thank local volunteers and key workers for what they are doing during the coronavirus pandemic. (Glyn Kirk/AFP)
Britain's Princess Anne, Princess Royal, wearing a protective face covering to combat the spread of the coronavirus, attends an event to thank local volunteers and key workers for the work they are doing during the coronavirus pandemic and over Christmas in the quadrangle of Windsor Castle in Windsor, west of London, on December 8, 2020 - The Queen and members of the royal family gave thanks to local volunteers and key workers for their work in helping others during the coronavirus pandemic and over Christmas at Windsor Castle in what was also the final stop for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their tour of England, Wales and Scotland. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / POOL / AFP) (Photo by GLYN KIRK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Anne also joined her mother and two of her brothers on Tuesday evening. (Glyn Kirk/AFP)

It marks a rare occasion for the Queen to be able to carry out an in-person engagement. It’s also the first time she has been seen with so many members of the Royal Family since the March lockdown.

She has been living in Windsor Castle for most of this year, with her husband Prince Philip, and has been unable to take on many in-person events because at 94, she is clinically vulnerable.

However she has held many virtual engagements, and was able to visit Porton Down in Salisbury in person earlier this year, before England went into a second lockdown.

Berkshire is in Tier 2, which would usually mean the rule of six applies outdoors.

Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (L) and Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (R) attend an event to thank local volunteers and key workers for the work they are doing during the coronavirus pandemic and over Christmas in the quadrangle of Windsor Castle in Windsor, west of London, on December 8, 2020 - The Queen and members of the royal family gave thanks to local volunteers and key workers for their work in helping others during the coronavirus pandemic and over Christmas at Windsor Castle in what was also the final stop for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their tour of England, Wales and Scotland. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / POOL / AFP) (Photo by GLYN KIRK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Charles and Camilla made the trip to Windsor from Highgrove, where they have been staying, to join the royals. (Glyn Kirk/AFP)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) stands with Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (2L), Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (3R) and Britain's Princess Anne, Princess Royal, (R) as they thank local volunteers and key workers for the work they are doing during the coronavirus pandemic and over Christmas in the quadrangle of Windsor Castle in Windsor, west of London, on December 8, 2020 - The Queen and members of the royal family gave thanks to local volunteers and key workers for their work in helping others during the coronavirus pandemic and over Christmas at Windsor Castle in what was also the final stop for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their tour of England, Wales and Scotland. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / various sources / AFP) (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
The Queen with Britain's Prince Charles, Camilla, and Princess Anne as they thank local volunteers and key workers in the quadrangle of Windsor Castle. (Glyn Kirk/AFP)
Britain's Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex (L), Britain's Sophie, Countess of Wessex (2L), Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (2R) and Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, wait as Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (unseen) thanks local volunteers and key workers for the work they are doing during the coronavirus pandemic and over Christmas in the quadrangle of Windsor Castle in Windsor, west of London, on December 8, 2020 - The Queen and members of the royal family gave thanks to local volunteers and key workers for their work in helping others during the coronavirus pandemic and over Christmas at Windsor Castle in what was also the final stop for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their tour of England, Wales and Scotland. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / various sources / AFP) (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
Edward and Sophie also joined the other royals on Tuesday afternoon. (Glyn Kirk/AFP)

Read more: Boris Johnson backtracks to give support to 'morale boosting' royal tour

But as the event is part of Her Majesty’s work, there are exemptions to the general rules.

William and Kate, both 38, found themselves criticised for their trip around the UK as ministers in both the Scottish and the Welsh devolved governments show reluctance at the royal engagements.

Nicola Sturgeon suggested the trip over the border took place despite the royal household being told about travel restrictions, while Vaughan Gething, the Welsh health minister, said he would have preferred if no one was making unnecessary trips.

But the UK government backed the trip. After at first appearing to distance himself from it, Boris Johnson released a statement making it clear he backed the royal couple and calling it a morale boost.

Watch: Who is The Queen?

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