March 17, 2020 / 2:23 PM / in 24 days

UK's Queen Elizabeth cancels parties, heads to Windsor Castle over coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Queen Elizabeth talks with MI5 officers during a visit to the headquarters of MI5 in London, February 25, 2020. Victoria Jones/PA Wire/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Queen Elizabeth canceled her annual garden parties and will leave London for Windsor Castle earlier than planned because of the coronavirus outbreak, Buckingham Palace said on Tuesday.

The 93-year-old monarch will carry out a number of small duties at Buckingham Palace in the next few days before she heads to Windsor, west of London, on Thursday - a week earlier than scheduled.

She will remain there beyond the Easter period, the palace said.

“In consultation with the Medical Household and government, a number of public events with large numbers of people due to have been attended by the queen, and other members of the royal family, in the coming months will be canceled or postponed,” the palace said in a statement.

The decision comes a day after Britain ordered a shut down of social life.

Among the canceled royal events will be the annual Maundy Service at Windsor next month and three garden parties that were to be staged at Buckingham Palace in May.

Decisions on whether a planned state visit by the Emperor of Japan should go ahead will be made later.

Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison/Guy Faulconbridge

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