No 10 parties came despite strict code of conduct for civil servants after Prince Philip’s death

·3-min read
The Duke of Edinburgh - Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images
The Duke of Edinburgh - Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

All civil servants were issued with strict guidance on how to behave following the Duke of Edinburgh’s death before two Downing Street leaving parties were held, The Telegraph can disclose.

The seven-page document, entitled “Government guidance for the period of national mourning”, was issued on April 9 2021, the day the Duke passed away.

The period of mourning lasted until Sunday April 18, the day after the Duke’s funeral on Saturday April 17. The two alcohol-fuelled leaving events happened the previous night, on Friday April 16.

In the document, civil servants and government ministers attending public-facing events were told to wear a “dark coat, suit, or day dress”, as well as dark gloves and hats if needed.

“All other civil servants who are working in an office at this time are expected to wear their normal business attire,” reads one line in the document, seen by The Telegraph.

Photos of the Duke to be present

The Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral took place on April 17 2021, the night before the alcohol-fuelled parties took place in Downing Street - Danny Lawson - WPA Pool/Getty Images
The Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral took place on April 17 2021, the night before the alcohol-fuelled parties took place in Downing Street - Danny Lawson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Photographs of the Duke in government buildings were to remain up, civil servants were told.

All public messages had to be signed off by each departmental director of communications, a sign of how activity during the period of mourning was being treated sensitively.

Any government department which communicated with the Royal family was told to “use black-edged stationery during the period of national mourning on matters relating to demise”.

One line made clear how the guidance applied to all civil servants: “Permanent Secretaries should make sure all civil servants working in their department are aware of this guidance.”

The guidance showed how seriously the Government was taking the actions of its employees during the official period of mourning for the Duke.

It will have applied to civil servants in Downing Street, some of whom are understood to have been in Number 10 on the night of the two leaving events. Others attending were political appointees.

Appropriate mourning dress encouraged

The full dress code guidance was as follows: “Civil servants and ministers involved in ceremonial or other public facing events associated with the demise should wear appropriate mourning dress.

“This includes dark coat, suit, or day dress; a dark hat and gloves are optional if appropriate for the weather; or [a] dark lounge suit with black tie; dark overcoat if appropriate for the weather.

“All other civil servants who are working in an office at this time are expected to wear their normal business attire.”

The tone of the advice is in marked contrast to the allegations about what happened at the two Downing Street leaving events the night before the Duke’s funeral, revealed by The Telegraph.

Eyewitnesses described what happened. They included claims that excessive alcohol was drunk until the early hours and some people played music and danced in the basement.

On Friday, Downing Street apologised to Buckingham Palace for the events. A spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “It is deeply regrettable that this took place at a time of national mourning. Number 10 has apologised to the Palace.”

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