LONDON (AdChoiceTV News) — The Queen has formally appointed the former head of MI5 as Lord Chamberlain ahead of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.
The monarch held an audience with Andrew Parker at Windsor Castle and passed on a wand and office insignia.
Lord Parker took over from the Earl Peel as Lord Chamberlain on 1 April.
The Lord Chamberlain’s office is responsible for royal events and ceremonies, including Prince Philip’s funeral at Windsor on Saturday.
It followed the Queen’s first royal duty since the duke’s death, when she accepted the wand and insignia from the Earl Peel, who has retired, during an audience at Windsor on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, members of the Royal Family released previously unpublished photographs of the duke, and the Princess Royal held her first in-person engagement since her father’s death.
A royal official has said members of the family would continue “to undertake engagements appropriate to the circumstances” during an official period of mourning.
Confirmation of the Queen’s audience with Lord Parker came in the Court Circular, the official record of royal engagements.
It reported: “The Lord Parker of Minsmere had an audience of The Queen today, kissed hands upon his appointment as Lord Chamberlain and received from Her Majesty the Wand and Insignia of Office and the Badge of Chancellor of the Royal Victorian Order, when The Queen invested him with the Insignia of a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order.”
The Lord Chamberlain’s office, led by the Queen’s Comptroller Lieutenant Colonel Michael Vernon, is tasked with the practical side of Prince Philip’s funeral.
But in overall charge is Lord Parker, who succeeds the Earl Peel after his retirement following more than 14 years in post.
The ceremonies at Windsor Castle came after the Queen held a phone call with Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday.
On Sunday, the Duke of York said the Queen had told her family that Prince Philip’s death at the age of 99 “left a huge void” in her life.
He added: “The Queen, as you would expect, is an incredibly stoic person.
“She described it as having left a huge void in her life but we, the family, the ones that are close, are rallying round to make sure that we’re there to support her.”
The funeral, on Saturday at 15:00 BST, will be a much more low-key event due to the pandemic, but Buckingham Palace says the plans reflect Prince Philip’s wishes.
His coffin will be carried in a modified Land Rover, which the duke helped to design, as part of a procession from the State Entrance of Windsor Castle to St George’s Chapel.
Members of the Royal Family will walk behind the coffin, although the Queen will travel separately. Meanwhile, guns will be fired in salute and a bell will toll.
Inside the chapel, the Royal Family will wear face masks and keep to social distancing rules. Only 30 people will be able to attend, in line with coronavirus regulations.
The Duke of Sussex has returned to the UK from his home in the US to attend the funeral, although the Duchess of Sussex will not make the trip on medical advice.
Reporting by Sean Tyler Chan / AdChoiceTV News (London)