The Queen has asked that there be no gun salutes to mark her birthday on Tuesday for the first time during her 68-year reign amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The monarch, who is set to turn 94 while residing at Windsor Castle, has also said Government buildings will be exempt from flying flags if it creates a problem.
The Department of Health announced on Saturday that 114,217 people had tested positive for the virus. Of those who had been tested and hospitalised, 15,464 had died, the department said, a jump of 888 over the previous day.
“There will be no gun salutes. Her Majesty was keen that no special measures were put in place to allow gun salutes as she did not feel it appropriate in the current circumstances,” a palace official said.
Britain’s response to the coronavirus outbreak – which has lagged that of its European peers – is a source of increasing political criticism for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is recovering from a spell in intensive care after becoming infected himself.
The crisis has seen citizens ordered to stay at home and businesses forced to shut during four weeks of restrictions on daily life without precedent in British peacetime history. The lockdown was extended on Thursday for at least three more weeks.
Meanwhile, Britain’s largest representative body for care homes on Saturday warned the number of people killed by the coronavirus in Britain’s care homes could be as high as 7,500.
The figure is more than five times higher than the estimate of 1,400 suggested by the government earlier this week.