If you were hoping to visit Buckingham Palace's State Rooms this summer, you're out of luck. The Queen's home will stay closed to the public this year due to the coronavirus, as will other residences.
Buckingham Palace is of course a major tourist attraction in the United Kingdom's capital, and some of its rooms open to the public each summer. That won't be happening in 2020, in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. Clarence House, Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla's London home, along with Frogmore House in Windsor, will also stay closed this year.
"The safety and wellbeing of our visitors and staff are our priority," the Royal Collection Trust, which manages the residences, said in a statement on May 12. "Because of the operational challenges of social distancing, unfortunately we have had to take the decision not to open the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace to the public this summer, and Frogmore and House and Clarence House will not open in August 2020."
Anyone who had booked a ticket to see Buckingham Palace's State Rooms, or visit Clarence House or Frogmore House will receive a refund. If you want to see the Palace digitally or Clarence or Forgmore Houses on the web, too, you can do so via the Royal Collection Trust's website.
It's not known at the time whether other royal palaces will open this summer. The Royal Collection Trust also manages the Royal Mews, Galleries and some shops. It says it will continue to follow U.K. government advice.
This all said, if you're still wanting to see inside these palaces, there are plenty of ways to do so from the safety and comfort of your own home!
It's possible to take a virtual tour of Buckingham Palace via the official royal website. It's possible to take a virtual tour of the palace no matter where you are in the world via the official royal website. It's a special treat, considering the palace is typically only open in the summer and a select few times in December, January and over Easter when the Monarch departs London for her other estates.
If you're keen on seeing palaces outside of the U.K., virtual tours of the Palace of Versailles in France and the Royal Palace of Amsterdam are offered through the Chateau de Versailles's own website and Google, respectively.
The Queen is currently at Windsor Castle, where she's been since March 19. Prince Philip is also with her. Her Majesty is taking an extended break from royal duties during the pandemic, a new report says. She will be at Windsor for the foreseeable future, according to the Sunday Times, and her engagements are on hold until the fall as the U.K. continues its recovery from COVID-19.