Staff at 10 Downing Street held two parties that lasted into the small hours before Prince Philip’s funeral, Duke of Edinburgh, on a day when the country was in mourning and the Queen of England, Elizabeth II was forced to go alone to her husband’s funeral at Windsor Castle due to health measures against COVID-19.
According The Telegraph, while the flags were at half-staff on government buildings in Westminster, advisers and public officials met until the wee hours of the morning in two separate events, that converged at the end of the night, hours before the funeral was held in the Chapel of St. George in Windsor Castle.
One of the parties was produced by the farewell of the government spokesman, James Slack, who was leaving Downing Street to join the staff of the newspaper The Sun, while the other, apparently, would have been organized by one of the personal photographers of the prime minister, Boris Johnson.
Several witnesses allege that large amounts of alcohol were drunk and dances were held without a safety distance, although, according to a number 10 spokesman who has spoken with The Telegraph, Johnson was not in London that day, having gone to his country house in Checkers.
The two Downing Street celebrations were held, firstly, in different parts of the building, although as the night progressed they came together in the gardens.. About 30 people attended both meetings combined.
That day, Slack finished work for the last time in Downing Street, stood up and thanked a group of advisers and press assistants in a farewell speech. Subsequently the party would have been celebrated, in which several witnesses assure that a lot of alcohol was drunk.
The second party, in honor of the departing photographer, was attended by younger members of staff and was held for much of the night in the basement of number 10. The room below the main office suite on the ground floor had limited ventilation.
A person who attended the meeting, who has chosen to remain anonymous, explained that se filled an entire suitcase with bottles of wine after buying all the material on a busy street near Downing Street. “Too much wine was spilled on the carpet in the basement of number 10”, said one of the attendees.
Hours after the party and with the country in the midst of pandemic restrictions, which prohibited indoor gatherings, the British royal family moved to the private chapel to watch over the death of Prince Philip.
Due to the strict sanitary measures, Elizabeth II, who wore a black mask, sat alone on the benches of the chapel. In addition, “to reduce the risk of transmission” of the virus, an online book of condolences was created and attendees — only 30 — were told that they could not leave flowers at the grave.
(With information from Europe Press)