Great Britain

Queen chuckles on virtual call as she hosts foreign ambassadors live from the Palace

THE Queen chuckled today as she hosted foreign ambassadors on a Zoom call from Buckingham Palace.

Her Majesty stayed safely distanced and beaming as she carried out official duties - accepting credentials from the visitors via video link.

She is still in Windsor Castle in line with medical advice, while the three ambassadors went to the Palace.

As with all Brits the Queen has had to get to grips with hosting meetings over online chats, to keep to social distancing rules.

But she didn't seem phased, as she greeted and joked with the diplomats.

Her Majesty has had plenty of practice on Zoom, keeping up with family members and chatting with various members of the public.

Princess Anne gamely took the monarch through the basics of the online call platform in the summer.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh spent much of the second lockdown in England at their Berkshire residence.

They announced earlier this week they will remain at Windsor Castle for Christmas, forgoing the annual royal gathering at Sandringham.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: "Diplomatic audiences are a long standing and traditional part of the monarch's role and the hope has always been to restart them as soon as possible.

ONE'S ON THE LINE

"A variety of options were considered in line with current guidelines to reintroduce diplomatic audiences while retaining some of the long-established ceremonial elements, such as the use of Buckingham Palace."

She added: "At this time, in line with medical advice, Her Majesty will conduct diplomatic audiences virtually from Windsor Castle."

The Queen held three separate diplomatic audiences with Sophie Katsarava, ambassador of Georgia, Gil da Costa, ambassador of Timor-Leste also known as East Timor, and Ferenc Kumin, ambassador of Hungary, and his wife Viktoria Kumin.

The diplomats were in the Equerry's Room at Buckingham Palace while the Queen was sitting in the Oak Room at Windsor Castle.

Diplomatic audiences have remained almost unchanged since the Victorian era with ambassadors still collected from their embassy or residence in a State landau, a ceremonial horse-drawn carriage, and taken to Buckingham Palace to present their credentials the Queen.

Tradition was followed for Friday's unique event with the top diplomats enjoying a horse-drawn ride thought the streets of London to the monarch's official residence.

The Queen has held an audience via video link before, speaking virtually with Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York, upon his appointment in July.

The head of state's last audience in person at Buckingham Palace was on March 18, with Commodore Stephen Moorhouse, the outgoing commanding officer of the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, and his successor Captain Angus Essenhigh.

The Queen chuckles in delight as kids treat her to live music show over Zoom

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