Friday, September 18, 2020

Queen Elizabeth II to skip church service at Balmoral on Sunday due to virus risk

Queen Elizabeth II to skip church service at Balmoral on Sunday due to virus risk

Royal fans will not be able to catch a glimpse of Queen Elizabeth II attending church service on Sunday at Balmoral in Scotland. The British monarch has decided to give the Sunday church service a skip as a ‘sensible precaution’ against coronavirus. The queen and Prince Philip arrived in Scotland on Monday.

Queen Elizabeth II and the British royal family spend summer holidays in Balmoral Castle, Scotland. She has plans to stay at Balmoral until early October.

As Head of the Church of England and someone with a strong personal faith, the monarch worships at Crathie Kirk, the nearest church to her Balmoral Estate on Royal Deeside, when she is in Scotland. Royal fans also gather to catch a glimpse of the sovereign when she drives in.

“It is simply a sensible precaution in the circumstances,” a royal aide confirmed on Friday, reports Daily Mail. The insider added that the monarch and Prince Philip would stay away from the church service on Sunday and for the foreseeable future. Buckingham Palace said any alternative plans for the queen’s Sunday worship would be private.

Crathie Kirk is the church where royals have worshipped for 150 years. It was closed due to the pandemic. Rev Kenneth Mackenzie, the Church of Scotland minister said he will re-open for Sunday morning services. But worshippers will have to follow guidance — wear face masks, avoid singing and fill in a form giving contact details for possible contract-tracing.

Social distancing measures will be in place at the church, so only 18 to 20 pews will be available – one for each household – giving a maximum capacity of between 30 and 40.

Mackenzie added that it is “very unlikely” crowds would be allowed to gather outside like normal to watch the royal family arrive and depart for church. The Church of Scotland allowed parishes and places of worship to reopen for communal services from July 15.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, who is undergoing hospital treatment for what Buckingham Palace described as a “pre-existing condition” Photo: AFP / Fiona HANSON

Meanwhile, the queen and her husband are staying at Balmoral with limited staff, who have been quarantined for two weeks to minimise the COVID-19 risk.