The Queen was sombre in black as she left Windsor Castle by car this morning for a final outing before England is plunged into lockdown at midnight.
The Queen, 94, who typically only wears black when in mourning, to funerals, or to Remembrance Sunday services and events, left the royal residence in the back of a Range Rover.
It comes days after the death of Her Majesty’s cousin and trusted party planner Lady Elizabeth Shackerley at the age of 79.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, 99, will spend lockdown together at Windsor Castle after returning to the residence on Monday.
The Queen was sombre in black as she left Windsor Castle by car this morning for a final outing before England is plunged into lockdown tonight. The Queen, 94, typically only wears black when in mourning, to funerals, or to Remembrance Sunday services and events
The outing comes days after the death of her cousin and long-time party planner Lady Elizabeth Shackerley at the age of 79. Pictured, together at the Goring Hotel in 2010
The couple had been apart for several weeks, after the monarch returned to Windsor Castle last month to resume her royal duties while Prince Philip remained in Sandringham.
The Queen travelled to Norfolk to spend a long weekend with her husband but both have now returned to Windsor ahead of the lockdown being brought in at midnight.
It means the couple will be together for their 73rd wedding anniversary on November 20.
‘Philip is keen to spend his anniversary with the Queen,’ and insider told The Sun.
‘They spent seven months together in HMS Bubble due to Covid-19 this year and have only been apart for a few weeks now.
‘It is also seen as a chance for staff at Sandringham to have a break so that they will feel better about working at Christmas. But Christmas is still up in the air.’
The Queen, 94, who typically only wears black when in mourning, to funerals, or remembrance occasions, left the royal residence, in Berkshire, in the back of a Range Rover
The Queen left Windsor Castle by car this morning. She and Prince Philip will spend lockdown together at Windsor Castle
Sandringham staff have previously complained that royal bubble restrictions have kept them away from their families due to the three-week shift pattern, plus seven days of quarantine.
It is reportedly hoped that Prince Philip and the Queen both isolating at Windsor will help quell tension, after Sandringham estate workers revolted against a plan for them to stay in a coronavirus bubble there over Christmas.
Who was Lady Elizabeth Shakerley?
Born in 1941 at Windsor Castle, Lady Elizabeth Shakerley was the daughter of Anne Bowes-Lyon – a niece of the Queen Mother. The Queen’s father, King George VI, was Lady Elizabeth’s godfather.
Lady Elizabeth married Sir Geoffrey Shakerley at Westminster Abbey in July 1972. Guests included the Queen, the Queen Mother and Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands. Princess Anne served as bridesmaid.
Sir Geoffrey and Lady Elizabeth had one daughter, Lady Fiona, before divorcing in 2009.
Lady Elizabeth founded her party planning business, Party Planners in 1960, and was trusted to arrange royal events for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Queen, among others.
Other high profile clients included Sir Mick Jagger, Margaret Thatcher and Bill and Hillary Clinton.
In April the Queen made Lady Elizabeth a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order as a sign of her personal esteem.
A team of about 20 employees had been asked to remain on the monarch’s Norfolk estate without their families to support her, Prince Philip and other members of the Royal Family during the festive period.
But the group – said to involve cleaners, laundry and maintenance workers – are believed to have mutinied because they are unwilling to isolate from loved ones for four weeks.
The uprising means the Queen could be forced to spend Christmas at Windsor Castle for the first time in 33 years.
The Queen typically spends her winter break at Sandringham, travelling up after the Christmas party for extended family members at Buckingham Palace in December.
Until Covid struck, the modest farmhouse on the Norfolk estate had become Prince Philip’s main home following his retirement from formal royal duties in 2017.
However, he left in March to join the Queen at Windsor, where they spent four months with a specially screened household dubbed ‘HMS Bubble’.
The couple have spent more time together in the past seven months than they have since their early married life in Malta, where they lived simply in a villa from 1949 to 1951 – the only period when the Queen said she lived ‘normally’.
The Queen and the Duke had a summer holiday at Balmoral in August, but spent less than half their normal 10 weeks in Scotland due to coronavirus restrictions there that limit visits from family and friends.
The Duke then wanted to return to Wood Farm and, in an unusual move, the Queen decided to join him before returning to Windsor last month.
Wood Farm has long been a favourite of the couple. The five-bedroom farmhouse brings back fond memories from their younger days, as the Queen cooks and the Duke does the washing-up.
The Queen and Prince Philip have reunited for England’s new lockdown, forming a renewed ‘HMS Bubble’ at Windsor Castle
The small number of staff there do not wear Royal livery, and it is still the one home where the Queen feels she can escape the pressures of monarchy.
When she returned to Windsor alone at the start of October, the plan was for her to commute between Norfolk, Windsor and Buckingham Palace where she could have official engagements.
Seemingly, however, that has proved unworkable, and her only Royal visit has been a trip to the Porton Down military research laboratory near Salisbury.