Queen to be protected by a 2,500ft ‘no-fly zone’ over safety fears

Prince Philip: Commentator on ‘precious’ time with the Queen

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From January 27, most aircraft will be banned from passing below a 2,500ft altitude within a 1.4-mile radius area the centre of which is Windsor Castle. The Queen has spent the most part of the past two years at her Berkshire residence.

An information notice jointly published in mid-December by NATS – the UK Aeronautical Information Services – and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) stated it is necessary in the public interest to restrict flying in the vicinity of the Windsor Castle “having regard for the significance of the security considerations associated with this location by reason of it being the residence of a member of the Royal Family”.

The flying ban applies to all aircraft with the exception of those operated by or on behalf of a member of the Royal Family, the National Police Air Service, the Helicopter Emergency Medical Services, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency during a search and rescue operation and the Queen’s Helicopter Flight.

Among others, exemptions are also applied to any aircraft “making an approach to or departing from London Heathrow Airport whilst under the control of London Terminal Control, Swanwick, or the air traffic control unit at London Heathrow Airport”.

Express.co.uk contacted CAA for further comment. The Authority did not comment.

Fighter jets may be scrambled if a plane breaches the no-fly zone and fails to respond to radio warnings.

And police protecting the castle grounds will also be given more powers to halt illegal drones, the Sun reported.

News the Queen would benefit from a no-fly area over Windsor Castle first came to light last April, after Thames Valley Police began a consultation on a “Restricted AirSpace Order”.

A police spokesman said at the time: “As part of the Met Police’s responsibilities under the Royalty and Specialist Protection Command, the Met is responsible for policing within the footprint of Windsor Castle and we work closely with Thames Valley Police to ensure the Castle and the surrounding areas are kept safe and secure.

“As part of our ongoing review of security arrangements at Windsor Castle, and working in partnership with Thames Valley Police, we intend to apply for a Restricted Airspace Order for up to 2,500ft at a radius of 1.5 nautical miles around Windsor Castle.

“This has not been brought about in response to any specific threat or intelligence, but is intended to further enhance the security at what is an iconic location and keep the community living nearby safe.”

Members of the Royal Family have complained about the noise created by aircraft taking off and landing at Heathrow airport, just a few miles from the Berkshire castle, in the past.

Prince Philip reportedly said the skies above Windsor were so busy that, if the Queen decided to record her Christmas broadcast there, she would have to do it in “little 30-second slots” not to be interrupted by the aircraft noise.

In 2017, the Queen herself joked about the noise above her residence.

Appearing on Gardeners’ Question Time on BBC Radio 4 in 2017, she said: “I very much hope you have enjoyed visiting Frogmore House and garden, which holds a special place in my family affections.

“Indeed, I would echo the sentiments of Queen Victoria, who, 150 years ago, wrote of this dear lovely garden where all is peace and you only hear the hum of bees, the singing of the birds.

“These days, there is more noise from the air than in 1867, but Frogmore remains a wonderfully relaxing environment.”

The decision to make Windsor Castle a no-fly zone was taken before the latest security scare experienced by the Queen.

On Christmas morning, an intruder breached Windsor Castle grounds while the monarch was in residence.

A 19-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of breach or trespass of a protected site and possession of an offensive weapon.

It was revealed he was found to have a crossbow on him.

This has prompted the Home Office to consider “options to strengthen controls on crossbows”, as stated by a spokesman for Home Secretary Priti Patel.

The man was sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

This episode prompted calls among royal watchers to reassess Her Majesty’s safety at her Berkshire home.

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