Queen 'rejected' Boris Johnson's offer to break COVID rules for Prince Philip’s funeral

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had allegedly told the Queen that she did not have to comply with COVID restrictions for Prince Philip’s funeral.

Boris Johnson and the Queen
© Pool/Tim Graham Royal Photos/ GETTY IMAGES
Boris Johnson and the Queen

On 20 January, local current affairs magazine Private Eye came out with a story that was beyond shocking—it included the Queen, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and COVID.

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The publication reported that Prince Philip’s burial could have included more guests than the restrictions at the time permitted and that the proposal came from the Prime Minister himself.

Tragic death

Prince Philip passed away on 9 April 2021 which is when many COVID restrictions were still in place in the UK—including a cap on the number of guests at weddings and funerals. Only a total 30 mourners were allowed to attend but the Prime Minister apparently told the Queen that he would make an exception in the case of Prince Philip. Furthermore, the media reported that he also said social distancing measures could be ‘relaxed’ in the service.

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The Queen, however, decided not to take up his offer as ‘it would be unfair to others who were grieving for loved ones in the lockdown.’ Private Eye wrote:

The Palace told Downing Street that she wanted to set an example rather than be an exception to the rules.
Prince Philip's funeral  Pool/Max Mumby/ GETTY IMAGES

Private Eye's source

Although Private Eye has not revealed where they got this insider information from, royal experts and commentators are not surprised at the exchange especially given that Johnson was throwing staff parties on the eve of the Prince’s funeral. Sean O’Grady, editor at the Independent wrote in an opinion piece:

Of course, you shouldn’t necessarily believe everything you read in Private Eye (or anywhere else), but the latest edition contains a story that definitely has what the journalistic trade calls the ring of truth about it.

Victoria Howard, a royal expert who has been closely following the monarchy for 10 years, posted an excerpt of the article on Twitter and said:

She declined, wanting to set a national example, in the knowledge many had faced the same during the pandemic. #leadership
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