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The Queen's trip to Balmoral IS going ahead despite cancellation fears

The Queen’s annual trip to Balmoral IS going ahead despite earlier fears the guidelines on moving between England and Scotland might scupper the three-month holiday

  • Queen and Prince Philip are reportedly set to fly to the castle around August 1
  • They may stay in the Scottish Highlands for up to three monthsCouple have spent past 15 weeks shielding from COVID-19 at Windsor Castle
  • Was thought that monarch may not go to Balmoral because of official guidelines
  • They advise against non-essential travel between England and Scotland

The Queen and Prince Philip are expected to spend the summer at Balmoral after it was feared that guidelines on moving between England and Scotland might scupper the annual stay.  

The monarch, 94, and her husband, 99, are reportedly set to fly to the castle, in the Scottish highlands, where they may stay for up to three months. 

Royal sources told The Sun that Her Majesty and Philip will leave around August 1, when coronavirus shielding guidelines will be lifted.

The Queen and Prince Philip are expected to spend the summer at Balmoral after it was feared that guidelines on moving between England and Scotland might scupper the annual stay

The Queen and the Duke have spent the past 15 weeks shielding from COVID-19 at Windsor Castle. 

It was previously thought that current guidelines advising against non-essential travel between England and Scotland might force the Queen to cancel the annual trip to Balmoral.

But a royal source told The Sun that the trip is going ahead.  

‘Preparations are well under way.

‘Everything will be checked and double-checked to ensure there is no risk. 

The source added that it has helped that Scotland has recorded very few coronavirus deaths in recent days. Three new deaths were reported on Tuesday. 

The Queen has spent a 12-week break at Balmoral for each of the past 68 years of her reign. 

Since the coronavirus crisis started, Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh have been in joint isolation at Windsor Castle since the start of lockdown in March.  

The monarch, 94, and her husband, 99, are reportedly set to fly to the castle, in the Scottish highlands, where they may stay for up to three months 

The couple have been cared for by a devoted team of staff who provide a protective shield – dubbed ‘HMS Bubble’ – around them.  

The staff are split into two groups of 12 who work away from their families on a ‘three weeks on, three weeks off’ basis, the Sun reported.

Royal staff, including chefs, cleaners and officials, spend two weeks at home and a third week in quarantine during their time away from Windsor, it was said.

Under strict measures to protect the monarch, each employee is then tested for Covid-19 and has their temperature taken before they can begin another three-week rotation.

Those involved in the Queen’s security operation include her favourite page Paul Whybrew – with whom she is so comfortable that they often watch TV together, and who co-starred in her James Bond skit for the London Olympics Opening Ceremony. 

Residents of Scotland and England have been encouraged not to travel between the two nations because there are different lockdown measures in each.  

Royal sources said Her Majesty and Philip will leave around August 1, when coronavirus shielding guidelines will be lifted. Pictured, the Queen in Balmoral last year

While holiday accommodation has started to open up in England, allowing people to book staycations, they remain closed in Scotland. The earliest this is expected to change is July 15.  

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall recently moved from Birkhall, on the Balmoral estate, to their London home of Clarence House as they lead the royal family in returning to public engagements after lockdown. 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge remain at Anmer Hall, Norfolk, with their three children, Prince George, six, Princess Charlotte, five, and Prince Louis, two.  

Scotland continues to take a more cautious approach to lifting restrictions and remains in phase 2 of its plan, while England has progressed to stage 3. 

On Monday Nicola Sturgeon announced she would allow beer gardens and non-essential shops to re-open from next month – and three family groups to meet indoors.

The Queen and the Duke have spent the past 15 weeks shielding from COVID-19 at Windsor Castle

The First Minister announced to the Scottish Parliament that she was following Boris Johnson’s example in England and relaxing restrictions introduced in March.

But the changes will come into effect more slowly than south of the border, where they will be introduced on July 4.

In Scotland, beer gardens can reopen on July 6, non-essential shops within indoor shopping centres from July 13.

And in a step that goes further than measures revealed by the Prime Minister yesterday, households will be able to meet indoors with people from up to two other households from July 15.  

The Queen marks what would have been the Ceremony of the Keys on Instagram 

The Queen marked the annual Ceremony of the Keys on Instagram yesterday after the event was cancelled due to COVID-19. 

The Royal Family shared photos of the Queen, 94, taking part in the ceremony in recent years, alongside a lengthy caption.  

The ceremony typically takes place in the forecourt of Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh and marks the start of a week-long stay in the city, known as Holyrood Week. 

The Queen marked the ancient Ceremony of the Keys on Instagram yesterday after the event was cancelled due to COVID-19. The Royal Family shared photos of the ceremony in recent years (one pictured), along with a lengthy caption explaining the tradition

As part of the Ceremony of the Keys, the Queen is welcomed into the city of Edinburgh, Her Majesty’s ‘ancient and hereditary kingdom of Scotland’, by the Lord Provost, who offers her the keys of the city. Pictured, the Queen receiving the keys at a previous ceremony

However this year the ceremony, and the subsequent visit, have been cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

As part of the Ceremony of the Keys, the Queen is welcomed into the city of Edinburgh, Her Majesty’s ‘ancient and hereditary kingdom of Scotland’, by the Lord Provost, who offers her the keys of the city.

The monarch then ceremoniously returns the keys, entrusting them to the elected officials of the city. 

She also inspects a guard of honour, provided by the Royal Regiment of Scotland.   

The Queen at the Ceremony of the Keys in Edinburgh in 2018, which she attended with the Duke of Edinburgh. The couple remain in isolation at Windsor Castle 

Holyrood week celebrates Scottish culture, history and achievement.

There is an Investiture during the week, held in the Great Gallery at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, which is located at the end of the Royal Mile in the centre of Edinburgh. 

The Investiture recognises Scottish residents who have made a significant contribution to their society.  

A Garden Party is held, where The Queen welcomes around 8,000 people from all walks of Scottish life to spend a relaxed afternoon with her in the beautiful grounds of the Palace.

Apart from these regular engagements, The Queen also undertakes a number of regional Scottish engagements which vary from year to year. 

As part of the ceremony the Queen inspects a guard of honour, provided by the Royal Regiment of Scotland. Pictured, the Queen at a previous Ceremony of the Keys

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Wrongfully convicted Queens man exonerated after serving 25 years for murder

In an emotional hearing, a judge Tuesday vacated the murder conviction of a Queens man who served 25 years in prison for a 1994 execution-style shooting he didn’t commit.

“To many of you, this may look like a victory. But as I’m before you today I cannot help but see all the loss —  but I also see hope. Hope for my future, hope for my family, hope for reform,” said Samuel Brownridge, 45, as tears streamed down his face.

The married father of three was released from prison in 2019 after spending more than half of his life locked up.

Justice Joseph Zaya’s eyes welled with tears as Brownridge spoke at the Queens Supreme Court hearing, which was conducted via Skype.

Zaya vacated Brownridge’s conviction on the grounds of innocence and dismissed the indictment based on a defense motion that Queens DA Melinda Katz supported.

“I do believe it’s important that I say how sorry we are for the miscarriage of justice, that grave injustice that occurred in this courthouse,” Zayas told Brownridge. “It seems to me that almost everyone in the criminal justice system failed you in some way.”

Brownridge was convicted based on two eyewitness identifications. But new evidence undermines the credibility of those accounts and implicates a dead violent felon, Garfield Brown, for the shooting of Darryle Adams, 32, on March 7, 1994, in St. Albans, officials said.

A group of four men, one of whom was in a wheelchair, confronted Adams. The man in the wheelchair struck him in the head with a bottle then another member of the group shot him in the head. There was no apparent motive for the crime, the Queens DA said in a statement.

Brown was killed in a shootout with police when they tried to apprehend him in connection to two unrelated homicides in 2002 shortly after he was featured on the TV show “America’s Most Wanted.”

During the hearing, Katz called the wrongful conviction a “double tragedy” noting that the actual killer went on to commit other murders.

Brownridge’s lawyer Donna Aldea disclosed in her motion for dismissal damning evidence that had been withheld from the jury.

Three men told police at the time that they were present for Adam’s murder and fingered Brown, a violent felon, as the shooter. Days after the murder, Brown confessed to committing the killing to a pal.

Brown also more closely resembled an eyewitness description of the shooter as a man in his mid-20s with a short fade haircut. Brownridge was just 18 and his hair wasn’t short on the sides.

During the hearing, Aldea said that despite overwhelming evidence of Brownridge’s innocence presented to the trial court and an appeals court after he was found guilty, his conviction was still repeatedly upheld.

“He is a man who is wronged, betrayed and failed by our criminal justice system,” she said, choking up.”[Despite this] his spirit is not darkened by hate or by resentment. He is driven by hope, by love and by gratitude.”

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