Two Parties Reportedly Held at 10 Downing Street as UK Quarantined, Mourned Death of Prince Phillip
02:49 GMT 14.01.2022 (Updated: 05:13 GMT 14.01.2022)
The list of social events and parties held at 10 Downing Street, the residence and executive office of the prime minister of the United Kingdom, while the rest of the nation was on lockdown due to COVID, continues to grow.
New reporting has brought to light two parties held on Friday, 16 April 2021. The two leaving parties, one for James Slack, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's director of communications, and one for a photographer, began as separate events until merging into one large party later that night.
According to reporting, a significant amount of alcohol was consumed, a custom that has reportedly become commonplace at 10 Downing street as the rest of the UK faced COVID restrictions.
The nation had been in mourning following the 9 April death of Prince Phillip, Queen Elizabeth's husband of 73 years, and was in step two of a stringent lockdown plan, which, among other health restrictions, explicitly barred indoor socializing.
Concerns over COVID were so severe that mourners were asked not to leave flowers due to public health concerns.
Prince Phillip's funeral service was held on 17 April, the day after the dual-Downing Street parties. The most lasting image was of Queen Elizabeth masked and alone in a private chapel in Windsor Castle.
Strict adherence to social distancing and public health mandates by the Royal Family, at a time of grieving, stands in sharp contrast to the excess and disregard of lockdown rules by members of the prime minister's staff, according to reports.
At the time, mixing indoors was banned, except within a single household. While people could meet outdoors, it could only be in groups of six, or two households.
According to a partygoer, the two parties consisted of around 30 people. One party started in the main offices and the other was held in the basement. As the events wore on, the two parties migrated to the No 10 garden.
A witness said the party continued well past 12 a.m. into 17 April, and a toy swing belonging to the prime minister's son was broken by an attendee.
Johnson was not at the alleged parties, according to reports. On Thursday, he departed for Chequers, the prime minister's country house, where he would stay until Saturday.
The parties are the first confirmed gatherings at 10 Downing Street in defiance of COVID lockdown mandates from 2021. The prime minister has been under fire for gatherings that occurred in 2020 around the holidays.