Queen honours royal head of tech after year of virtual engagements

Toby Zeegen was one of a number of the Queen’s staff to receive honours which were awarded independently of Downing Street.

Queen honours royal head of tech after year of virtual engagements

After months of the Windsors carrying out virtual royal engagements, working from home and relying on online catch ups to see family, the Queen has honoured her head of IT operations for services to the monarchy.

Toby Zeegen has been made a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO) – an award in the Queen’s gift, bestowed independently of Downing Street.

Video calls became the norm for the head of state, who conducted audiences, royal appearances and even unveiled a statue online during the pandemic, as, like the rest of the nation, she had to rely on digital technology more than ever before.

Audiences at Buckingham Palace
The Queen appears on a screen by videolink from Windsor for a virtual audience with New Zealand High Commissioner Bede Corry in December 2020 (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Desmond Shawe-Taylor, the Royal Collection’s former chief surveyor and surveyor of the Queen’s pictures, was made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO), while Rufus Bird, former surveyor of the Queen’s works of art, has become an LVO.

Royal Collection conservators also masterminded the removal of paintings from the Buckingham Palace picture gallery in 2020 for the first time in 45 years as part of the 10-year project of renovations at the royal residence.

Michael Field, head of display and framing of paintings is now an LVO, and Dr Kate Heard, senior curator of prints and drawings has become a Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO).

Royal protection officer, Sergeant Emma Probert, who has guarded the Duchess of Cambridge for many years, was made an MVO for services to royalty and specialist protection.

Staff who keep the Royal Household together, prepared and running smoothly, were also highlighted for their work.

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Robert Revell, tractor driver on the Sandringham Estate, was honoured with the Royal Victorian Medal (Silver), as was Windsor Farm Shop butcher, Roland Stephen.

Garter Principal King of Arms, Sir Thomas Woodcock, has been made a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO).

Sir Thomas proclaimed the Duke of Edinburgh’s many styles and titles in full as part of Philip’s funeral service.

Duke of Edinburgh funeral
The Garter Principal King of Arms proclaims the Duke of Edinburgh’s styles and titles from the sanctuary during his funeral at St George’s Chapel (Yui Mok/PA)

The position, which dates back to around 1415 during Henry V’s reign, is the most senior of the three English Kings of Arms, and takes its name from the Order of the Garter.

The Royal Victorian Order and Royal Victorian Medals are in the Queen’s gift and given to people who have served the Queen or the monarchy in a personal way.

The Order was founded by Queen Victoria in 1896.

The awards come a day after Queen issued Demise honours in the wake of her husband’s death to Philip’s trusted aides and service personnel who played key roles at his funeral.

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