Smiling Queen jokes as she presents poetry award on Zoom from Windsor Castle

29 October 2021, 01:14 | Updated: 29 October 2021, 01:24

Queen conducts virtual audience to present poetry award

By Emma Soteriou

The Queen has presented poet David Constantine with a prestigious prize during a virtual ceremony from Windsor Castle.

It comes after the monarch faced preliminary tests in hospital on 20 October - her first overnight stay at a medical facility in eight years.

Pictured smiling broadly, the Queen wore a colourful floral day dress for the event, and told writer David Constantine: "I'm very glad to have the chance to see you, if only mechanically, this morning."

The acclaimed poet visited Buckingham Palace to receive the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry 2020, joined by the chair of the judging committee, the Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage.

After Armitage presented the award to Constantine on the Queen's behalf, she joked: "I don't know what you do with it, do you put it in a cupboard?" and smiled.

The writer said he would show it to his children and grandchildren who were waiting at home, with the Queen replying: "Well, that will be nice, it's rather a nice medal isn't it?"

Read more: Queen carries out first official duties since doctors ordered her to rest

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The virtual event followed on from the Queen's telephone meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday evening - their first in three weeks.

After having been told to rest, the 95-year-old monarch also announced that she would not be travelling to Scotland for the COP26 conference in Glasgow. She will, instead, record a video address for delegates.

However, she returned to carrying out virtual audiences from Windsor Castle on Tuesday, her first official engagements in seven days. Later that day, the Queen spoke with Chancellor Rishi Sunak ahead of the Budget.

Meanwhile, the committee recommended Constantine for the 2020 award on the basis of his 11 books of poetry, in particular, his Collected Poems, published in 2004, which spanned three decades of his work.

When the award was first announced last year, Armitage said: "Above all, David Constantine is a humane poet - a word often used in connection with his work as if, in noticing and detailing the ways of the world, he is doing so on behalf of all that is best in us.

"For over 40 years he has shaped a body of work that stands in comparison with that of any of his contemporaries, not just at home but internationally, navigating and negotiating that space between everyday events and their metaphysical or spiritual otherness."