Queen returns to royal duties four days after Prince Philip's death
Queen Elizabeth II alongside Lord Chamberlain, the Earl Peel, 2013 - PA
The Queen has returned to her royal duties just four days after the death of her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.
On Tuesday, the 94-year-old monarch hosted her first in-person event since Philip's death on Friday to mark the retirement of her household's highest official, former Lord Chamberlain Earl Peel.
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Her return to work comes as preparations are underway for Philip's funeral, which will be attended by soldiers and women from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and RAF this Saturday at Windsor Castle.
It was announced over the weekend that the monarchy and its households would enjoy two weeks of royal mourning, with family members "continuing to make appropriate commitments," a royal official said.
The Earl Peel had overseen preparations for the Duke's funeral - known as Operation Forth Bridge - before handing over responsibility to his successor, MI5's former spy chief Baron Parker, just over a week before Philip settled peacefully at Windsor Castle died.
Philip grid monday 12
Responsible is Andrew Parker, Baron Parker of Minsmere, who took up his new role on April 1, after Earl Peel retired after more than 14 years in office.
The Lord Chamberlain oversees all executive appointments in the household, is the channel of communication between the Sovereign and the House of Lords, and provides coordination between Buckingham Palace and Clarence House.
During a ceremony at Windsor Castle, the Queen accepted the wand and badges of office of her former royal aide.
The official engagement was recorded in the court circular - a daily list of events attended by the Queen and her family.
It read: "Earl Peel had an audience with The Queen today, presented his wand and badges of office as Lord Chamberlain and the badge of Chancellor of the Royal Victorian Order, and when he abandoned his appointment as Lord Chamberlain, said goodbye as Her Majesty invested him on the Royal Victorian Chain. "
The Queen recently bestowed a prestigious honor on the Earl Peel that made him a permanent Lord in Waiting.
Meanwhile, as part of security preparations, Thames Valley Police are conducting special searches of the town of Windsor, with officers examining street furniture such as telephone boxes, mailboxes, drains and trash cans as part of the operation.
The troop said they had a series of visible and covert security measures in place for Saturday when the Duke is due to be honored with a solemn royal funeral at St. George's Chapel.
Prince Philip: his funeral
It will be a royal funeral like no other, with the queen and her family wearing face masks and social distancing as they gather to say their final goodbyes.
Due to the strict Covid rules, the queen has the prospect of having to sit alone during the funeral.
The law states that anyone attending a funeral must be at least two meters away from anyone who does not belong to their household. This means that all members of the royal family must spread out at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.
The Queen is not eligible to be in a support bubble as she does not live alone, which means the only person who could sit with her during the service would be a member of her Windsor Castle staff.
It is believed that Philip's funeral could attract one of the biggest television audiences of the year.
The largest television audience to date saw 25.1 million people watch Prime Minister Boris Johnson's televised address on January 4th announcing a new national lockdown, while 13.9 million watched the Duke and Duchess of Sussex interview with the US Broadcaster Oprah Winfrey last month.
Broadcasters have yet to confirm their plans for Philip's funeral, but the BBC and ITV will likely spend several hours on the event, including the 3pm ceremony.
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