The first major investiture ceremony since the pandemic began will go ahead at St James’s Palace on Wednesday, with numbers scaled back to comply with Covid guidelines.

The Prince of Wales will greet 32 recipients at the event, which is being staged at the central London location.

Investitures at Buckingham Palace
The Queen was pictured wearing gloves for the first time at a palace investiture in March last year (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Investitures are usually a key part of the royal calendar, but there have been no major ones for 15 months, since before the start of England’s first national lockdown.

Around 100 recipients are usually awarded their honours, from knighthoods to MBEs, at investitures, but this time, around a third of this number will be permitted to attend to comply with Covid regulations.

The ceremony will take place despite the delay to the June 21 easing of restrictions following concerns over the rapidly spreading Delta variant first identified in India.

Royal reception for British Red Cross volunteers
The Prince of Wales speaking at a reception in St James’s Palace in 2017 (John Stillwell/PA)

In March 2020, the Queen was pictured wearing gloves for the first time at a palace investiture, when the total number of people diagnosed with Covid-19 in the UK was 51.

It was before the UK was in the grip of coronavirus, and the head of the World Health Organisation was advising people over the age of 60 to avoid crowded areas.

Buckingham Palace is normally the venue for investitures but this first event is being held at St James’s Palace because of the ongoing work to update the services at the Queen’s official London home.