Prince Philip's Funeral Is Back In The Spotlight. Here's Why

We all remember the heartbreaking images of Queen Elizabeth sitting alone at her husband Prince Philip's funeral. At the time of the Duke of Edinburgh's passing, England was under strict COVID-19 lockdown guidelines, so the masked monarch paid tribute to her partner of 73 years all by her lonesome, since she was the only member of her household and so-called COVID bubble left (via ABC 7).

Now, nine months after the Queen buried the love of her life, shocking new information has emerged that details how as many as 30 members of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's staff attended "leaving" parties the night before Philip's funeral (via The Guardian). At first you might be thinking that the revelry was simply in poor taste — but remember that England was under COVID-19 lockdown. Large gatherings were banned, with the government stipulating members of the same household only could socialize indoors and outdoor gatherings were to be limited to six people from just two different households.

But there's another important reason that a party involving alcohol and dancing is being considered highly inappropriate by many British citizens. The Telegraph reports the country was in a period of national mourning when the gatherings took place on April 16, 2021, the night before the funeral on the 17th.

Twitter has some very strong opinions about the party

Johnson himself did not attend the "boozy" parties, which were convened indoors at 10 Downing Street to celebrate two staff members who were leaving and reportedly lasted until the next morning, the day of the funeral (via Business Insider). But he is still facing tremendous backlash — and that's not even the worst of the fallout.

Emotions are running high on Twitter, where people had a lot to say about the situation. "How will Boris Johnson be able to look Her Majesty in the eye at his next audience with her, after she sat alone in the pew at her husband's funeral?" one person demanded. Meanwhile, another Twitter user pointed out, "It's not just that the latest Downing Street parties broke lockdown rules and the law... we were also supposedly in a Period of National Mourning up to and including the day of the late Duke's funeral. You'd expect Her Majesty's Government at the very least to observe this."

Some Twitter users believe Boris Johnson needs to go

Jokes aside, it's important to report that some Twitter users are not just angry about the parties. Many are even calling for Johnson to step down, with one person tweeting, "The Prime Minister has disrespected Her Majesty, the Royal Family and the British people. He has degraded his office and isn't fit to govern. Resign." Likewise, another infuriated user tweeted in part, "Johnson and all his damn staff who took part MUST ALL GO. ENOUGH. IT'S DONE."

"While Her Majesty the Queen was mourning Prince Philip half a mile away, No 10 were throwing boozy parties with suitcases of wine. Dissolve Parliament now and let the people vote this bunch of disrespectful Eton school bullies out of office and take back control – for real," opined yet another angry Twitter user.

Public opinion of Johnson is clearly suffering gravely — so much so that his government was forced to react.

Boris Johnson's government has apologized to Queen Elizabeth and the British people

As social media reacted en masse, Johnson's office issued an apology, with the BBC reporting a spokesperson for the prime minister saying about the parties that it's "deeply regrettable that this took place at a time of national mourning." The spokesperson added, "We acknowledge the significant public anger, it was regrettable this took place at a time of national mourning." Meanwhile, government officials called the Palace to apologize as well.

The outlet stresses that Johnson himself was not at the gatherings but notes the buck stops with him when it comes to parties having happened while the country was supposed to be under COVID-19 lockdown and in a period of national mourning for Prince Philip.

Tellingly, not only are social media users calling for Johnson to resign via comments flooding Twitter, but as The Guardian reports, opposition parties in the British government are also demanding that he step down. The outlet states that the PM was already facing a backlash centered around his attendance at other large gatherings that took place during lockdown.

With photos of Queen Elizabeth sitting alone at Prince Philip's funeral being compared to imaginings of parties that allegedly involved staffers going out for more alcohol at one point, it's unclear whether Johnson will endure this scandal, with a vote on his future potentially looming in Parliament.