No 10 staff ‘held two parties’ night before Queen sat alone at Philip’s funeral

Staff ran to Co-op ‘with a suitcase’ to get wine the night before Prince Philip’s funeral, it’s claimed (Picture: Getty Images)

Around 30 Downing Street staff held two lockdown-breaking parties the night before the Queen sat alone to lay her beloved husband to rest, it’s claimed.

Advisers and civil servants are accused of drinking into the early hours of the morning on April 16, 2021 – hours before heartbreaking images emerged of the monarch bidding farewell to Prince Philip at a socially distanced funeral.

People at one event danced to music and ran to Co-op on the Strand ‘with a suitcase’ to get wine, eyewitnesses have claimed.

Some ‘worried there was too much wine spilling on the basement carpet’, while one person broke a child’s swing belonging to the prime minister’s son Wilf’, The Telegraph reports.

At the time, millions of Brits had been told not to socialise indoors with anyone but their own households, while they could meet outdoors in groups of six or two households.

It comes as the government is accused of holding a number of parties back in 2020.

Boris Johnson is currently under pressure to resign after admitting to attending one gathering in May 2020 – but insists he believed it to be a work event.

The Tory leader was away at Chequers on the weekend of the two alleged parties in April, No 10 have said.

But a spokesperson acknowledged staff gathered to ‘hear a leaving speech’ that night.

The prime minister is not accused of being at the two parties, but admitted attending another gathering back in May this week (Picture: / MEGA)

The first event was allegedly held for James Slack, Mr Johnson’s director of communications, who was leaving to become deputy editor at The Sun newspaper, it’s claimed.

Attendees were reportedly inside Downing Street before eventually going outside to the garden with their drinks.

Another group, mostly younger staff, had a ‘party atmosphere with music blaring out’ in the No 10 basement to say goodbye to one of Mr Johnson’s personal photographers.

Mr Johnson’s head of operations, Shelley Williams-Walker, is accused of being in charge of the music at points.

The two groups joined together around midnight to make a group of 30, it’s claimed.

One ‘senior figure’ said they had warned against holding Mr Slack a leaving party but it allegedly went ahead anyway.

A No 10 spokesperson said of Mr Slack’s farewell event: ‘On this individual’s last day he gave a farewell speech to thank each team for the work they had done to support him, both those who had to be in the office for work and on a screen for those working from home.’

They declined to comment on the photographer’s alleged leaving do. has contacted Ms Williams-Walker and Mr Slack for comment.

Mr Slack did not comment when approached by The Telegraph. The newspaper approached Ms Williams-Walker and the photographer via Downing Street but they did not offer statements either.

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