UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has come under more fire as reports have emerged that his staff held a party flouting coronavirus guidelines just hours before Queen Elizabeth II sat alone at her husband's funeral to follow the rules.
According to a new report in The Telegraph, Downing Street staff allegedly boozed "excessively" at two leaving parties the night before Prince Philip's funeral on April 17, 2021. Meanwhile, the monarch had to grieve alone after she lost her husband of 73 years, at the funeral which was only attended by 30 people keeping in mind the coronavirus restrictions.
As per the report, government advisers and civil servants drank large amounts of alcohol and danced in No.10's basement and gardens after work on Friday, April 16. As per eyewitnesses, around 30 people attended the two gatherings before combining in the garden, allegedly because of a fear that too much wine was spilling on the basement carpet.
The party was held to mark the departure of Boris Johnson's press chief James Slack and one of his personal photographers. However, the public mourning Prince Philip's death at the time were told to write in a book of condolence that was set up online instead of leaving flowers to "reduce the risk of transmission" of Covid from physical signings.
The Downing Street party was also in violation of Covid restrictions that were in place in England at the time. The rules stated, "You must not socialise indoors except with your household or support bubble. You can meet outdoors, including in gardens, in groups of six people or two households."
A No.10 spokesman insists that the PM was not present at his residence that day as he had left for the Chequers country estate on Thursday evening and stayed there till Saturday.
The new report comes soon after Johnson confessed that he was in attendance at a 'BYOB' ("bring your own bottle") party on May 20, 2020, during the first national lockdown. In his defense, the 57-year-old said that he thought he was attending a "work event" which was allowed under the COVID rules.