Queen Elizabeth has canceled her annual garden parties and will leave London for Windsor Castle earlier than planned due to the coronavirus outbreak, Buckingham Palace said Tuesday.
The 93-year-old British monarch will be performing a number of minor tasks in the palace over the next few days, including meeting Prime Minister Boris Johnson before heading to Windsor west of London a week earlier than planned.
The palace said she would stay there after Easter, describing the changes as a "reasonable precaution".
"In consultation with the medical budget and government, a number of public events involving a large number of people in which the queen and other members of the royal family are said to have attended in the coming months will be canceled or postponed," the palace said in an explanation.
The decision is made one day after Britain ordered social life to shut down and told people to avoid pubs, restaurants, cinemas and theaters. People over 70 with underlying health problems should isolate for 12 weeks from this weekend.
The canceled royal events include next month's annual Maundy Service in Windsor and three garden parties to be held at Buckingham Palace in May.
Decisions about events to mark the 75th anniversary of the victory in Europe when Nazi Germany surrendered, and whether a planned state visit by Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako should take place in June will be made later.
The Kyodo Newswire reported Monday that the Emperor's trip could be postponed.
The Queen's decision was made when the Church of England said it would suspend public worship until further notice to slow the spread of the corona virus.
It was said that the churches should remain open for prayers where possible, but no worship should take place. The clergy should stream their worship live if they could, and the Alexa and Google Home smart speaker apps would be used more, the church said.
PA Media said church weddings and funerals would continue.
"Our lives will be less about Sunday church attendance and more about the prayer and worship we offer every day," wrote the Canterbury and York Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu in a letter to the clergy.
"We urge sisters and brothers to become a different kind of church in the coming months: hopeful and rooted in the offering of prayer and praise, and in abundance in serving the world."
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