THE Queen’s closest servants are working three-week shifts in isolation away from their families, The Sun can reveal.
The 24 staff are allowed to spend two weeks at home, a third week in quarantine and are tested for Covid-19 before resuming work.
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And it is feared the royal lockdown may be extended indefinitely to protect the 94-year-old monarch and Prince Philip, 98.
The Queen has been surrounded by a team of hand-picked staff at Windsor Castle since restrictions were imposed nine weeks ago.
The extensive precautions to keep her safe from coronavirus can now be revealed.
Her band of 24 are split into two teams of 12 who work “three weeks on, three weeks off”.
Every member has to be tested for Covid-19 and their temperatures taken before they can start their next three-week shift.
Last month, The Sun revealed ex-Royal Navy officer Tony Johnstone-Burt, the Master of the Household, had described the protective ring as “HMS Bubble”.
The Queen will clearly be in lockdown for many months.
The tight ring of protection — which has increased from 22 to 24 — was likened to a long deployment at sea when sailors are separated from their families.
Royal aides are preparing to keep the Queen isolated for many months and her diary until the end of year is now under review.
A source told The Sun: “No chances can be taken with the Queen and the Duke’s health, so it’s totally understandable.
“But the fact this move has been taken indicates there will be no change soon.
“The Queen will clearly be in lockdown for many months.
“It’s hard to see when it will be deemed safe for her to venture out again.
“It’s highly unlikely she will be able to knight Captain Tom Moore, for example, in person.”
Royal aides are looking into how Captain Tom — who raised around £40million for NHS charities — can receive his knighthood and are said to be working alongside his family to find a safe plan.
Royal author Andrew Morton told The Sun that Her Majesty’s “We’ll meet again” speech to the nation last month was her “finest hour”.
But he says she will not be able to return to normal royal duties as it is too risky.
A palace source described the virus as having a “cataclysmic impact” on planning.
It comes as The Sun also revealed the coronavirus lockdown will this year cost Her Majesty an estimated £18million.
The Lord Chamberlain told all Royal Household staff income could fall as much as a third due to no tourists at royal palaces.
The Queen went into self-isolation two months ago on March 20 and was joined by Prince Philip, who was flown from Sandringham by helicopter to Windsor.
It is understood she remains keen to work, continues to receive her red boxes from the Government and speaks with Prime Minister Boris Johnson every Wednesday on the phone.
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