Prince Harry: TV hosts sympathise with Queen after memoir reveal
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson, 57, wanted to have his weekly audience with Queen Elizabeth II, 95, in-person despite mounting fears around COVID-19 in March 2020, former chief aide Dominic Cummings has claimed.
In an explosive new interview with the BBC, Mr Cummings fires shots at Mr Johnson and claims he was only put off from seeing the Queen after Downing Street aides warned doing so may put her life at risk.
Downing Street has denied the alleged incident and Buckingham Palace declined to comment.
Mr Johnson’s last in-person audience with the Queen ahead of the first lockdown took place on March 11.
After that date, the meetings were carried out via the phone for the following 15 weeks until COVID-19 restrictions were eased.
The danger of the virus to the elderly was already well known and on March 18, 2020, the day of the scheduled meeting Mr Johnson wished to attend, there were already 2,626 cases of Covid across the UK.
The Queen left Buckingham Palace and travelled to Windsor Castle on March 19 which is where she and her late husband Prince Philip spent the best part of the pandemic.
Just over a week later, on March 27, Mr Johnson tested positive for Covid, ending up battling the deadly disease in hospital.
Speaking in the interview, Mr Cummings said: “I said, what are you doing?”
He added: “And he said, I’m going to see the Queen and I said, what on earth are you talking about, of course, you can’t go and see the Queen.
“He said, ah, that’s what I do every Wednesday, sod this, I’m gonna go and see her.”
According to Mr Cummings, this conversation took place a matter of days before the first national lockdown on March 23 2020.
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Mr Cummings added: “I said to him (Boris Johnson), there’s people in this office who are isolating, you might have coronavirus, I might have coronavirus, you can’t go and see the Queen.”
The former aide added: “What if you go and see her and give the Queen coronavirus? You obviously can’t go.
“I just said if you, if you give her coronavirus and she dies what, what are you gonna, you can’t do that, you can’t risk that, that’s completely insane.
“And he said, he basically just hadn’t thought it through, he said, yeah, holy shit, I can’t go.”
In the end, Mr Johnson and the Queen switched to having their meeting via phone from March 18, 2020.
They resumed their in-person audiences on June 23 this year.
Dominic Cummings: The Interview will air on BBC Two at 7pm on July 20.
The Queen has made Windsor Castle her main administrative base since the pandemic and is expected to remain there permanently.
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