Queen without walking stick at Palace audience

The Queen has carried out an audience at Buckingham Palace without the aid of her new walking stick.

She welcomed Dame Imogen Cooper to her London residence to present the classical pianist with the Queen’s Medal for Music.

The 95-year-old monarch, wearing a floral dress, stood unaided in her private audience room for the engagement, examining the silver medal in its presentation box with Dame Imogen as she handed her the accolade.

Audiences at Buckingham Palace
Dame Imogen Cooper is received by the Queen at Buckingham Palace (Aaron Chown/PA)

She used a stick for what is believed to be the first time at a major public event on Tuesday when she attended a service marking the centenary of the Royal British Legion at Westminster Abbey.

The Queen also took a different, shorter route to her seat in the Abbey – via the Poet’s Yard entrance, rather than through the Great West Door.

Both developments were said to have been tailored for her comfort.

Centenary of the Royal British Legion
The Queen used a walking stick at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday (Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA)

The Queen has held mostly virtual audiences since the start of the pandemic.

But in June this year, she greeted Boris Johnson at the Palace for her first in-person weekly audience with the Prince Minister since before the first lockdown.

On Wednesday, the monarch, who was not wearing gloves, took Dame Imogen’s hand as the musician gave a curtsey.

Audiences at Buckingham Palace
Dame Imogen Cooper curtseys to the Queen (Aaron Chown/PA)

In March 2020, the custom of the Queen greeting audience guests with a handshake was eschewed in order to maintain social distancing.

The Queen was seen pointing at the medal as the pair chatted.

Master of the Queen’s Music Judith Weir was also present, but stood at a distance.

Audiences at Buckingham Palace
Dame Imogen Cooper and the Queen examine the medal (Aaron Chown/PA)

The Queen’s trademark black Launer handbag could be seen on a nearby chair.

Dame Imogen founded the Imogen Cooper Music Trust, a charity aimed at supporting young musicians at the start of their careers.

In 2020, she took part in the first live classical music concerts to be broadcast following the first lockdown, with a performance in an empty auditorium which was livestreamed by BBC Radio 3.

The Queen’s Medal for Music, established in 2005, is awarded annually to an individual or group of musicians who have had a major influence on the musical life of the nation.