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Prince Harry, Prince Charles and More Members of the Royal Family Refrain From Hand-Shaking at Commonwealth Service Amid Coronavirus Scare

Royal Family Declines Handshakes at Commonwealth Service Amid Coronavirus
Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey on March 9, 2020 in London, England. Shutterstock

Better safe than sorry! Prince Harry, Prince Charles and more members of the royal family were spotted actively avoiding handshakes at the Commonwealth Service on Monday, March 9, as the coronavirus scare continues.

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Royal Family Declines Handshakes at Commonwealth Service Amid Coronavirus
Prince Charles bowing with praying hands as a greeting. YouTube

The 35-year-old prince, for his part, was seen bumping elbows with British singer-songwriter Craig David at Westminster Abbey. Charles, 71, meanwhile, opted to place his hands together, bow and say “namaste” to ceremony attendees. Queen Elizabeth II, the Head of the Commonwealth, wore gloves and kept her distance as she chatted with guests. Prince William, Duchess Kate, Meghan Markle and Duchess Camilla were also seemingly avoiding physical touch.

After Prime Minister Boris Johnson went in for the handshake while greeting a priest, he quickly pulled away in a viral clip from Monday’s service. According to the Daily Mail royal reporter Rebecca English, it’s Westminster Abbey’s policy at the moment to “not to shake hands” rather than follow royal protocol.

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According to the BBC, more than 300 cases of the coronavirus, which causes the respiratory infection Covid-19, have been confirmed in the U.K.

“We are now very close to the time, probably within the next 10 to 14 days, when the modeling would imply we should move to a situation where everybody with even minor respiratory tract infections or a fever should be self-isolating for a period of seven days,” Johnson said in a press conference earlier this month. “It is absolutely critical in managing the spread of this virus that we take the right decisions at the right time based on the latest and the best evidence, so we mustn’t do things which have no or limited medical benefit, nor things which could turn out actually to be counter-productive.”

William, meanwhile, joked about the outbreak at an event in Ireland with Kate on Tuesday, March 3.

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“The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are spreading coronavirus, Sorry. We’re keeping an eye on that, so do tell us if we need to stop,” the 37-year-old prince quipped in a video from the couple’s reception at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.

In a second video, William can be heard saying, “I bet everyone’s like ‘I’ve got coronavirus, I’m dying,’ and you’re like, ‘No, you’ve just got a cough.’”

Monday marked William and Kate’s first public appearance alongside Harry and Meghan since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced their plans to step back from their senior royal duties. During their brief interaction at the service, William and Kate barely acknowledged the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who sat in the row behind them.

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