The Queen will withdraw from her public duties for months, remaining at Windsor Castle indefinitely as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage Britain.

The unprecedented move will see Her Majesty disappear from public life for months, the longest absence in her 68-year reign.

Her shift to Windsor comes with a shutdown of Buckingham Palace, which will be closed to the public throughout the British summer.

Staples of the Queen's summer calendar, including Trooping The Colour and her famous garden parties, have already been cancelled and the Sunday Times is reporting that her diary of engagements is on hold through the autumn.


The decision for the Queen to step back follows her strong role in leading the UK and the Commonwealth through the global pandemic, telling Kiwis: "Kia kaha, kia māia, kia manawanui" - to be strong, be brave, be steadfast, in the face of the threat.

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Two recent video addresses to the British people, one on April 5 and the other to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, drew on the Queen's wartime experience to encourage the public.

She promised those separated from loved ones that "we will meet again", echoing Vera Lynn, and urged Britons: "Never give up – never despair".


UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a modest easing of the country's coronavirus lockdown Sunday and outlined his government's road map for further lifting restrictions in the coming months.

In a televised address to the nation, Johnson said people in Britain who can't work from home, such as those in construction or manufacturing jobs, "should be actively encouraged to go to work" this week.

He said that starting Wednesday, a restriction limiting outdoor exercise to once a day will be lifted and that people will be able to take "unlimited amounts".

The Prime Minister, who spent a week in the hospital receiving treatment for Covid-19, stressed that social distancing guidelines still will have to be observed and said it would be "madness" to allow a second spike in infections.

A timeline of Covid-19 as the number of confirmed cases increases around the world.

Johnson also laid out a "conditional plan" for relaxing other lockdown restrictions in the coming months, including the possible return to school for some younger children on June 1. He said he hoped some of the hospitality industry can reopen a month later. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

-Additional reporting, AP