Queen presents medal to poet David Constantine by video-link

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David Constantine, left, was presented with the medal by Simon Armitage, on behalf of the Queen who appeared by video-link (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)
David Constantine, left, was presented with the medal by Simon Armitage, on behalf of the Queen who appeared by video-link (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)

The Queen has presented poet David Constantine with a prestigious prize during a virtual ceremony and joked: “Do you put it in a cupboard?”

As she continues to carry out light duties after being advised to rest, the Queen spoke with the writer via video-link from Windsor Castle on Thursday.

The acclaimed poet was at Buckingham Palace to receive the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry 2020, and was joined by the chair of the judging committee, the Poet Laureate Simon Armitage.

Pictured smiling broadly, the Queen wore a colourful floral day dress for the event, and told the writer: “I’m very glad to have the chance to see you, if only mechanically, this morning.”

After Armitage presented the award to Constantine on the Queen’s behalf, she joked: “I don’t know what you do with it, do you put it in a cupboard?” and smiled.

When the writer replied he will show it to his children and grandchildren who are waiting at home, the Queen replied: “Well, that will be nice, it’s rather a nice medal isn’t it?”

The virtual event follows on from her telephone meeting with the prime minister on Wednesday evening – their first in three weeks.

On Tuesday, the 95-year-old monarch announced she would not be travelling to Scotland for the UN climate change conference being staged in Glasgow and, instead, would record a video address for the Cop26 delegates.

The Queen faced preliminary tests in hospital on October 20 during her first overnight stay at a medical facility in eight years, and has twice used a walking stick in recent weeks.

The Queen said the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, which was presented to David Constantine, was ‘rather a nice medal’ (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)
The Queen said the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, which was presented to David Constantine, was ‘rather a nice medal’ (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)

She returned to work on Tuesday, carrying out virtual audiences from Windsor Castle, her first official engagements in seven days, after she was ordered to rest by doctors – and later that day spoke with Chancellor Rishi Sunak ahead of the Budget.

The committee recommended Constantine for the 2020 award on the basis of his 11 books of poetry, in particular, his Collected Poems, published in 2004, which span three decades of his work.

When the award was first announced last year, Armitage said: “Above all, David Constantine is a humane poet – a word often used in connection with his work as if, in noticing and detailing the ways of the world, he is doing so on behalf of all that is best in us.

“For over 40 years he has shaped a body of work that stands in comparison with that of any of his contemporaries, not just at home but internationally, navigating and negotiating that space between everyday events and their metaphysical or spiritual otherness.”

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