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BUCKINGHAM PALACE has apologised after admitting thousands of elderly couples expecting letters of congratulation for major anniversaries face "severe delays" due to the coronavirus pandemic.

PUBLISHED: 04:59, Thu, Sep 3, 2020 | UPDATED: 04:59, Thu, Sep 3, 2020

Those marking their 60th, 65th or 70th anniversaries can request to have a note of congratulations from the monarch. However, many of these are expected to arrive late this year as the global pandemic hits the royal bureaucracy.

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In a statement the Palace warned letters could be delayed by a “number of weeks” adding it is “sorry for the disappointment”.

It explained: “Please note that due to operating restrictions caused by COVID-19 measures, our capacity to deal with all message applications is currently reduced and our ability to send messages is limited.

anniversary message applications are currently delayed by a number of weeks, applications submitted online and by post since April are being processed as quickly as possible but are severely delayed.”

Members of the public can still apply to have milestone anniversaries marked by the Queen, but there is no guarantee her messages will arrive in time.

Royal anniversary letters from the Queen could be delayed this year (Image: GETTY)

RoyalBuckingham Palace apologised for the mistake (Image: GETTY)

This will not impact those expecting letters from the monarch to mark their 100th birthday.

In 2019 the Queen send out more than 36,000 messages of congratulations for anniversaries.

Three years previously she dispatched 29,339 notes for 60th anniversaries, 3,221 for 65th anniversaries and 1,407 for 70th anniversaries.

The Queen and Prince Philip, who wed in 1947, have been married for a total of 73 years.

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