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Queen’s church asks for masks as Royals arrive in the Highlands

© DAVID HARTLEY/ShutterstockThe Queen receives a posy at the Braemar Highland Gathering in September last year
The Queen receives a posy at the Braemar Highland Gathering in September last year

The Queen may have to wear a face mask for her traditional visits to Crathie Kirk during her upcoming Scottish holiday on Deeside.

And this year it has also been decided there will be no Royal Guard and no pipes and drums to greet her arrival at her Deeside home.

A sign outside the Kirk, which is due to reopen next Sunday, asks worshippers to provide their details for the NHS test and protect tracing system.

Crathie minister the Rev Kenneth Mackenzie said all worshippers would also be asked to wear a face mask, adding: “We have to keep a record of who comes – everybody has to register and wear a face mask.”

The new rules are among a series of changes being carried out by the royal household to ensure safety during the Queen’s annual Scottish visit.

Already the Braemar Highland Games, which she attends every year, and which attract crowds of up to 10,000, have been cancelled.

Buckingham Palace and Army chiefs have agreed to dispense with the ceremonies on the Queen’s arrival this year due to the pandemic.

The inspection of the Royal Guard – made up of soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Scotland – usually draws large crowds.

An Army spokes-woman said: “I can confirm the Army will not be forming a Royal Guard this year and there won’t be an arrival parade.

“This is due to the ongoing pandemic and is entirely in the interests of the community of Ballater and is in line with the Scottish Government roadmap out of lockdown.

“I know this will be somewhat of a disappointment but it has been the strangest of years and I’m sure people will understand that, with everything else that has been cancelled and postponed, that the Royal Guard could not ahead in the normal way.”