Queen and Philip back at Windsor in HMS Bubble ready for Lockdown 2.0

By Laura Elston, PA Court Reporter
·2-min read

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have returned to Windsor Castle together, ready for England’s second national lockdown.

Buckingham Palace said the royal couple travelled to Berkshire from the Sandringham estate on Monday – three days before the month-long restrictions come into force.

The 94-year-old monarch had spent the weekend visiting the 99-year-old duke in Norfolk.

Philip’s decision to accompany the Queen to Windsor and return to HMS Bubble – the nickname for their reduced household of staff – came after the Government’s announcement on Saturday of the new lockdown in England in a bid to reverse the spread of coronavirus.

The Queen and Philip are just over a fortnight away from marking their 73rd wedding anniversary on November 20.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said the duke’s move to Windsor had been planned for a while.

Royal author Penny Junor said: “I just think it’s very nice if they are together in the same residence and same part of the world.

“It’s company for one another. They’re a marvellous old couple.”

Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, said the move meant the royal tradition of a Christmas at Sandringham this year was in doubt.

“Clearly it indicates there isn’t going to be any sort of Christmas at Sandringham,” the royal commentator said.

Windsor
Windsor Castle (Steve Parsons/PA)

Buckingham Palace declined to comment on any future plans for the festive season.

Philip has been staying at his Wood Farm cottage on the Sandringham estate for the past few weeks since the Queen returned to Windsor at the start of October.

He has spent much of his retirement so far in the sanctuary after stepping down from public duties in 2017 after decades of service.

Prior to the pandemic, the Queen was usually more than 100 miles away at Buckingham Palace or at Windsor carrying out her duties as head of state.

But Philip reunited with the monarch at Windsor ahead of the nation going into lockdown in March.

They stayed at the castle in HMS Bubble for their safety for nearly 20 weeks, before heading to Balmoral in Aberdeenshire for their summer break, and then spending a few weeks together at Sandringham.