Queen Elizabeth has decided to withdraw from public duties in the coming months amid the coronavirus outbreak. The monarch, who is 94 years old, will be staying in isolation at Windsor Castle indefinitely and won't, reportedly, be making her annual trip to Balmoral for the summer.
According to The Sunday Times, Queen Elizabeth's diary of engagements have nothing on schedule until the fall season. Her Majesty apparently had plans to visit South Africa in October but now it's unclear if that will go ahead since the U.K. continues to battle with the coronavirus crisis.
Buckingham Palace also announced that it will be closed to the public for the summer for the first time in 30 years. All events, including the traditional Trooping the Colour, were canceled as early as March.
Incidentally, a royal staff from Buckingham Palace tested positive for COVID-19. A spokesperson said that all the necessary precautions were adopted for the safety of everyone who works there.
Queen Elizabeth's isolation at Windsor will be the longest absence for the monarch from her official duties in her 68 years of reign. Her last public appearance was during the Commonwealth Day service in early March, which was also the last official duty for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
The Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, traveled to Windsor Castle on March 19 as a precautionary measure against the dreaded virus infection. A small number of royal staff have been serving the royal couple to ensure their protection from the coronavirus.
The Queen still maintains her weekly audience with Prime Minister Boris Johnson via the phone or through video conferencing. She has also been keeping in touch with the leaders of the Commonwealth, as well as the rest of the royal family, via phone calls or through FaceTime and Zoom.
"I think very carefully about my grandparents who are, you know, at the age they're at," Prince William said of his grandparents' health in a BBC interview. "We're doing everything we can to make sure that they're, you know, isolated away and protected from this."
Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth has gone on television two times since her isolation. On April 5, she addressed the British public to assure them that families who separated, since large gatherings are prohibited, will meet again. She also went on the air on VE Day on May 8 to tell her subjects to "never give up and never despair" despite this pandemic crisis.