Queen smiles through first public engagement since Philip's funeral

Lifestyle Team
·3-min read

The Queen has taken part in her first offical engagement since the funeral of her late husband, Prince Philip, as she makes a return to royal work.

The funeral took place on April 17 but the 95-year-old monarch remained in a period of royal mourning until 22 April, taking two weeks to grieve her husband. 

The Queen on a screen by videolink from Windsor Castle
The Queen on a screen by videolink from Windsor Castle during a virtual audience. Photo: Getty

The Queen did hold a private ceremony for a departing senior household member in that time, but on Tuesday, she carried out two audiences at Buckingham Palace, appearing via video link from Windsor Castle, where she is still living.

She was pictured smiling over the camera to Ivita Burmistre, who is the ambassador of Latvia, wearing a blue floral dress and a string of pearls.

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During the two audiences, the Queen received Burmistre, who presented the Letters of Recall of her predecessor and her own Letters of Credence as Ambassador from the Republic of Latvia to the Court of St James's.

A similar ceremony was then held for Sara Affoué Amani, who is the new ambassador from the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire. 

Queen Elizabeth II appears on a screen by videolink from Windsor Castle
The Queen received Her Excellency Ivita Burmistre, the ambassador of Latvia. Photo: Getty

During the funeral, the Queen had to sit alone in the quire of St George's Chapel, on the grounds of Windsor Castle, due to social distancing requirements. 

Although she has continued to carry out some of her royal engagements, Tuesday's audiences were the first time she was pictured doing her work.

Her family members have also been making a return to work, with Prince William and Kate visiting air cadets in East Ham last week, while Princess Anne went to three hospitals in Gloucestershire, near her main home, to thank people for their work during the pandemic.

The Queen had to mark her birthday while in royal mourning this year, though the period came to an end just before her great-grandson Prince Louis's third birthday.

She released a statement thanking the public for their "support and kindness" during a "period of great sadness".

"I have, on the occasion of my 95th birthday today, received many messages of good wishes, which I very much appreciate," the Queen said.

While as a family we are in a period of great sadness, it has been a comfort to us all to see and to hear the tributes paid to my husband, from those within the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and around the world.

"My family and I would like to thank you all for the support and kindness shown to us in recent days. We have been deeply touched, and continue to be reminded that Philip had such an extraordinary impact on countless people throughout his life."

Queen Elizabeth II takes her seat during the funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
The Queen in her seat at St George's Chapel for the funeral. Photo: Getty

There has since been speculation from experts about what the royal family will do following the death of Prince Philip.

Although Philip had been retired since August 2017, there is renewed interest in what a slimmed-down monarchy, reportedly advocated for by Prince Charles, will look like in the wake of his death.

"Prince Charles has wanted for a very long time to cut the monarchy down to save costs and to make people be worth the money that they get from the taxpayer," Angela Levin, royal biographer and author of Harry: Conversations with the Prince, told UK broadcaster talkRadio.

"I imagine that might be when Harry and Meghan are ditched from being members of the royal family."

Reporting by Rebecca Taylor.

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