The Queen has carried out her second public engagement since the death of her husband Prince Philip.

The Duke of Edinburgh died on Friday but the stoic monarch, aged 94, returned to royal duties just four days afterwards.

On Tuesday she hosted a retirement ceremony for the former Lord Chamberlain Earl Peel, her household’s most senior official.

Then yesterday she formally welcomed the new Lord Chamberlain – former MI5 chief Andrew Parker, Baron Parker of Minsmere – to his new post.

He took over from the Earl Peel at the start of the month, and has taken charge of the funeral arrangement for Prince Philip, known as Operation Forth Bridge.

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The Court Circular, a daily list of the events attended by the Queen and her family, said: ‘The Lord Parker of Minsmere had an audience of the Queen today, kissed hands upon his appointment as Lord Chamberlain and received from Her Majesty the Wand and Insignia of Office and the Badge of Chancellor of the Royal Victorian Order, when the Queen invested him with the Insignia of a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order.’

The Earl Peel was the Queen’s right-hand man for 14 years, after delaying his intention to retire due to the pandemic.

The Queen recently conferred a prestigious honour on him, making him a Permanent Lord in Waiting.

The new Lord Chamberlain, Baron Parker, served as director general of the security service since April 2013. 

During his career at the MI5 he led the intelligence agency’s response to the July 7 London terrorist attacks in 2005, and his teams played a leading role in the disruption of al Qaeda’s attempt to attack multiple airliners with bombs hidden in drinks bottles the following year. 

He was later promoted to deputy director general of the MI5 in 2007 before becoming head of the security service in 2013, but retired in April last year.

In his new role with the Queen, Baron Parker will run the royal working household and it will be his job to ensure the smooth running of all the different departments.

The post of Lord Chamberlain, which pays around £90,000 a year, is part-time and includes chairing regular meetings of all heads of department and overseeing all senior appointments in the household.

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A royal official announced over the weekend that the monarchy and their households would observe two weeks of mourning, with members of the family ‘continuing to undertake engagements appropriate to the circumstances’.

Members of the Royal Family are expected to wear black or dark colours and mourning bands, where appropriate to do so, during the mourning period.

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