With Meghan Markle and Prince Harry officially done with their royal duties, the Queen has plenty of reason to spend some time alone to process their departure. Yet Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s self-isolation actually has little to do with matters of Megxit. In March, the entire royal family began to take precautions against the spread of coronavirus—and those now include social distancing.
Queen Elizabeth II, 93, and her husband Prince Philip, 98, fall into the elderly at-risk category for the illness, so naturally, they are doing everything to stay safe. “No chances can be taken with the Queen’s safety in view of her and the Duke’s ages,” says a royal source. “Obviously, the fewer people are in contact with each other, the better.”
According to a recent report by Express, that means that under no circumstances is the Queen “to see members of her family.” While that obviously includes Meghan, 38, and Harry, 35, who are home in Canada with baby Archie, it even extends to Prince William, 37, and Kate Middleton, 38. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have since left London to stay in Anmer Hall. Meanwhile, Prince Charles, 71 and wife Camila, 72, are staying in their Highland Estate.
Part of the monarch’s plan for social isolation includes limiting the Castle’s staff. Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh have reportedly cut down on royal household staffers, keeping only an essential crew of eight employees on hand to care for them.
Of those eight, the Queen has chosen her favorite aides—dressmaker and adviser, Angela Kelly, and Page of the Blackstairs, Paul Whybrew—to remain alongside her. “The Queen couldn’t do without Paul and Angela,” a source told the Daily Mail, “and they are with her all the time.” Others still on staff include a housemaid, a chef, and a footman.
These measures aren’t only in place to protect the royal family. It is “also for the benefit of everyone who works at the Castle,” says a source. “Every firm has been told to send as many of their staff home as possible, and the Royal Family is no different….The Queen is being looked after by her closest servants, while a couple of grooms and stable lads are looking after the horses. Like everywhere else, normal life is being put on hold.”