How the Royal Family Is Being Impacted by the Coronavirus

Like millions of people around the world, members of the U.K. royal family are taking extra precautions to minimize their risks of contracting the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.

By Corinne Heller Mar 17, 2020 5:30 PMTags
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UPDATE: Changes continue to be made when it comes to Queen Elizabeth II's schedule.

E! News can confirm her Majesty will move to Windsor Castle for the Easter period on Thursday March 19, one week earlier than planned. It is likely the Queen will stay there beyond the Easter period.

In consultation with the Medical Household and Government, a number of public events to have been attended by the Queen and other members of the royal family in the coming months will be cancelled or postponed. In fact, three Garden Parties hosted by the Queen this coming May will now not take place.


Like millions of people around the world, members of the U.K. royal family are taking extra precautions to minimize their risks of contracting the novel coronavirus.

Queen Elizabeth II, 93, has postponed a visit to northwest England and north London amid the pandemic, while her son Prince Charles, who is 71 and is first in line to the throne, has canceled a royal tour.

"As a sensible precaution and for practical reasons in the current circumstances, changes are being made to The Queen's diary commitments in the coming weeks," Buckingham Palace said in a statement on Friday. "In consultation with the Medical Household and Government, Her Majesty's forthcoming visits to Cheshire and Camden will be rescheduled. Audiences will continue as usual. Other events will be reviewed on an ongoing basis in line with the appropriate advice."

The queen was set to visit Cheshire next week, where she was to tour a Bentley Motors Factory to mark its centenary, operate the Lovell Telescope at the Jodrell Bank observatory and meet local schoolchildren engaging in science activities.

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She was due to visit the London borough of Camden on March 26.

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Charles and wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, have canceled a tour of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus and Jordan, which was set to begin next week.

"Owing to the unfolding situation with the coronavirus pandemic, the British government has asked their royal highnesses to postpone their spring tour," their spokesperson said in a statement.

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More than 5,100 people have died worldwide and more than 140,000 have been infected by the novel coronavirus, dubbed COVID-19, since it was first discovered late last year in Wuhan, China, which has suffered the majority of fatalities. In the United Kingdom, the death toll has risen to 10, with almost 800 confirmed to be infected, as of Friday morning. 

The elderly, specially those over 80 years old, are the most susceptible to developing deadly complications if they contract the virus.

The queen and the prince appeared at a couple of small to moderate-sized gatherings this week. 

The monarch wore long gloves at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday. But during another event there on Thursday, the queen went gloveless as she shook hands with Professor Mark Compton, the Lord Prior of the Order of St. John, as he presented her with the Order's first-ever Service Medal in Gold.

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On Wednesday, Charles attended the annual Prince's Trust Awards, where greeted people with a "Namaste" gesture. On Thursday, he spoke at a charity dinner in aid of the relief and recovery efforts made those affected by the deadly bushfires in Australia.

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What About Charles' Sons and Their Wives?

Prince William and Kate Middleton: Announcements about future engagements involving Charles' eldest son, the second in line to the throne, and his wife, parents of Prince GeorgePrincess Charlotte and Prince Louis, have not been made. They were last seen at the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey with other members of the royal family. The queen wore gloves at the event.

William had joked about the coronavirus earlier this month.

"I bet everyone's like, 'I've got coronavirus, I'm dying,' and you're like, 'No, you've just got a cough,'" William told an emergency worker during a royal visit with Kate to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland. "It does seem quite dramatic about coronavirus at the moment."

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle: Charles' youngest son and William's brother and his wife also attended the Commonwealth Day Service, which marked their final official event as senior royals ahead of their royal exit, which takes effect at the end of the month. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who moved to Canada late last year, did not bring their 10-month-old son Archie Harrison with them on their trip back to the U.K.

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"The decision to leave Archie behind in Canada came not out of petty spite, as reported in some areas, but out of concern for his health during the threat of a global pandemic," The Telegraph's Briony Gordon wrote.

The coronavirus has struck more than 110 countries, including Canada and Meghan's home country of the United States.

(Originally published Friday, March 13, 2020 at 11:15 a.m. PST)

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