The Queen has carried out her first official in-person event of the year and made one of her most senior royal aides a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (RVO).
Vice-Admiral Sir Tony Johnstone-Burt is Master of the Household, running a department responsible for everything involved in official and private entertaining across all the royal residences.
He was awarded the honour on Thursday afternoon during a private socially distanced ceremony at Windsor Castle where the Queen has been spending the lockdown.
In a 2016 interview he praised the Queen, saying: “Her Majesty cares about people deeply.
“Often she will say to me, if I’ve got a personal issue, she will say, ‘Master, are you being kind?’ and I say, ‘Yes, of course Your Majesty’.”
His team’s remit spans hospitality, catering and housekeeping arrangements and includes everyone from florists and upholsterers to specialist craftspeople and caterers.
Sir Tony is a former Royal Navy officer who served as a helicopter pilot in the Falklands War and later commanded a Type 23 frigate.
He is sometimes seen in public keeping a watchful eye at big events and was called into action when NHS fundraiser Captain Sir Tom Moore was knighted by the Queen last summer, carrying the veteran’s Knight Bachelor insignia ahead of the ceremony.
Sir Tony was also present when a scaled down ceremony – dubbed a mini-Trooping – was held last June to mark the Queen’s official birthday.
Awards under the RVO are in the Queen’s gift and are bestowed independently of Downing Street to people who have served the monarch or the Royal Family in a personal way.