Queen holds audience with Boris Johnson over the phone amid coronavirus pandemic

Queen Elizabeth II receives Commodore Stephen Moorhouse (centre, outgoing Commanding Officer, HMS Queen Elizabeth) and Captain Angus Essenhigh (incoming Commanding Officer). (Press Association)

The Queen has conducted her weekly audience with Boris Johnson over the phone as the UK continues to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

Queen Elizabeth hosts a weekly audience with the prime minister and the event was in her diary despite changes to her upcoming engagements.

The court circular indicates her meeting was held via telephone on Wednesday.

She also held an audience with Captain Angus Essenhigh, the new Commanding Officer of the Royal Navy warship HMS Queen Elizabeth, and his predecessor Commodore Stephen Moorhouse.

However they did not shake hands during the audience, with the captain and commodore bowing to the 93-year-old monarch.

The Queen, dressed in a bright royal blue dress, smiled broadly as she spoke to the pair, who were in military uniform complete with medals.

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There were no handshakes, just bows at the audience. (Press Association)
The Queen's audience is likely to be one of her last. (Press Association)

The trio sat in separate chairs around the fire in the palace, appearing to be more than 1m apart from one another.

Buckingham Palace said the Queen would be following government advice with relation to the pandemic.

She will be decamping to Windsor for Easter Court a week early, leaving on 19 March.

It’s not clear when she will return, and it’s likely to be a longer spell in Windsor than usual. Her Maundy Service there on 9 April has been cancelled.

Her meeting with Johnson comes as the government prepares to pass emergency legislation which will help the country cope with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Queen hosts weekly audiences with the prime minister. (Press Association)

Read more: How Prince Andrew or Prince Harry could be called on if the Queen gets coronavirus

Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, announced a package of measures to help businesses and homeowners, and the prime minister has promised more to come to help the self-employed, freelancers, and those who rent their homes.

Schools in Wales and Scotland will close from Friday and Nicola Sturgeon warned parents should not expect them to re-open after Easter.

Read more: Will the Queen have to self-isolate? How world's royal families are affected by coronavirus

Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey has suggested that the central bank was considering printing money and giving it directly to UK households, noting that “everything is on the table.”

The Queen’s audiences are brief, one-on-one meetings which happen regularly throughout her working week.

She often receives members of the diplomatic community, as well as political, religious and military leaders, and people who have won prestigious cultural prizes.

No readouts are given for the Queen’s meetings with the prime minister.