No 10 staff ‘held two parties’ night before Queen sat alone at Philip’s funeral

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 17: Queen Elizabeth II watches as pallbearers carry the coffin of Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh into St George???s Chapel by the pallbearers during the funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle on April 17, 2021 in Windsor, United Kingdom. Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark was born 10 June 1921, in Greece. He served in the British Royal Navy and fought in WWII. He married the then Princess Elizabeth on 20 November 1947 and was created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich by King VI. He served as Prince Consort to Queen Elizabeth II until his death on April 9 2021, months short of his 100th birthday. His funeral takes place today at Windsor Castle with only 30 guests invited due to Coronavirus pandemic restrictions. (Photo by Yui Mok-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Staff ran to Co-op ‘with a suitcase’ to get wine the night before Prince Philip’s funeral, it’s claimed (Picture: Getty Images)

Around 30 Downing Street staff held two parties the night before the Queen laid her beloved husband to rest while sitting alone, it’s claimed.

Advisers and civil servants are accused of drinking into the early hours of the morning on April 16, hours before heartbreaking images emerged of the monarch bidding farewell to Prince Philip at a socially distanced funeral the next day.

People at one event danced to music and ran to Co-op on the Strand ‘with a suitcase’ to get wine, eyewitnesses have claimed.

Some ‘worried there was too much wine spilling on the basement carpet’, while one person broke a child’s swing belonging to the prime minister’s son Wilf’, The Telegraph reports.

At the time, Brits were told not to socialise indoors with anyone but their own households, while they could meet outdoors in groups of six or two households.

Boris Johnson was away at Chequers that weekend, No 10 have said.

But a spokesperson acknowledged staff gathered to ‘hear one leaving speech’ that night.

The first event was allegedly held for James Slack, Mr Johnson’s director of communications, who was leaving to become deputy editor at The Sun newspaper, it’s claimed.

Attendees were reportedly inside Downing Street before eventually going outside to the garden with their drinks.

Another group, mostly younger staff, had a ‘party atmosphere with music blaring out’ in the No 10 basement to bid farewell to one of Mr Johnson’s personal photographers.

The two groups joined together around midnight to make a group of 30, it’s claimed.

One ‘senior figure’ said they had warned against holding Mr Slack a leaving party but it allegedly went ahead anyway.

A No 10 spokesperson said of Mr Slack’s farewell event: ‘On this individual’s last day he gave a farewell speech to thank each team for the work they had done to support him, both those who had to be in the office for work and on a screen for those working from home.’

The spokesperson declined to comment on the photographer’s alleged leaving do.

Mr Slack declined to comment when approached by The Telegraph. The photographer was approached via Number 10 but did not comment.

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