The Queen conducted her first virtual diplomatic audience this week, welcoming the Hungarian Ambassador to the UK.
On Friday, Her Majesty spoke to His Excellency Dr. Ferenc Kumin and his wife Viktoria via video call from Windsor Castle, while the couple were at Buckingham Palace.
While ambassadors officially present their credentials to the Court of St James’s Palace, it is Buckingham Palace – as The Queen’s main working residence – where audiences are normally held, generally in the State or semi-State rooms.
Audiences – most often for the diplomatic community – last roughly 20 minutes, and the conversations which take place are entirely private. No written transcript or recording is made, although they are listed in the Court Circular, a diary-like recording of royal events and engagements.
There are more than 170 Ambassadors and High Commissioners based in London, and each one will have an audience with The Queen shortly after taking up their role.
The Monarch also received Her Excellency Sophie Katsarava, the Ambassador of Georgia, in the same way, and traditional protocols of bowing and curtseying were followed.
These sessions have changed little since the reign of Queen Victoria.
Diplomats are taken to the palace in a royal carriage (a state landau) from their embassy or residence, accompanied by the Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps, often in another carriage.
This isn’t the first pandemic-amended political audience Her Majesty has hosted however; back in March we were allowed to see a snap of the Monarch on the phone to Prime Minister Boris Johnson during their weekly meeting.