How Queen Elizabeth and the royal family are protecting themselves against the coronavirus

  • Queen Elizabeth wore gloves to hand out honors at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, and royal experts are dubbing the move a "sensible precaution" against coronavirus.
  • Buckingham Palace has not confirmed whether this was the case, however a palace spokesperson told Insider it was "not unusual for the Queen to wear gloves on a public engagement."
  • Meanwhile, the virus caused the King and Queen of Sweden to cancel a palace dinner "out of consideration" for the 150 guests due to attend. 
  • Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told Insider the British royal family likely won't cancel any of their events coming up within the next week, including the much anticipated Commonwealth Day service.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The King and Queen of Sweden became the first royals to cancel an event due to coronavirus concerns this week.

In a statement obtained by the Mail Online, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia said they would postpone the Official Government dinner at the royal palace "out of consideration" for the 150 guests due to attend.

This raises the question of whether the British royal family could follow suit. While Buckingham Palace is yet to cancel any events, Queen Elizabeth was pictured wearing gloves while handing out honors to members of the public this week. 

The 93-year-old monarch appears to be taking precautions 

According to Sky News, it has been a decade since Her Majesty wore gloves at an investiture. The publication added that the gloves the monarch chose appeared much longer than ones she has previously been photographed wearing at other engagements.

"The handling of a crisis like coronavirus is pivotal to morale and people take hints from the way their first family behave," royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told Insider.

"The Queen's wearing of gloves at yesterday's investiture ceremony of Buckingham Palace was an example."

Meanwhile, Joe Little, managing editor at Majesty magazine, told Sky News that Her Majesty took "a sensible precaution."

"The Queen doesn't wear gloves at investitures, but it's a sensible precaution," he said. "She's six or so weeks away from her 94th birthday and she's at an age when she's susceptible to such a virus."

Buckingham Palace told Insider it was "not unusual for the Queen to wear gloves on a public engagement."

It's worth noting that the following day, the monarch didn't wear gloves to shake hands with the President of Malta, and his wife Miriam Vella at Buckingham Palace. 

Queen Elizabeth shaking hands with Mrs. Vella.
Dominic Lipinski/PA Images bia Getty Images

It's business as usual for the rest of the royals

Fitzwilliams insisted that the royal family will still continue its current timetable of royal engagements. That includes the much anticipated Commonwealth Day service next week, where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will join Her Majesty at London's Westminster Abbey. 

The Sussexes and the Cambridges at an Armistice Service at Westminster Abbey in Westminster.

"It is true that the Swedish royals cancelled a white tie dinner for 150 people because of the coronavirus threat. The Queen, however, intends that the annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey next Monday will be commemorated as usual," Fitzwilliams said.

"The handling of royal events here will be in line with the government's statement yesterday, which advocated business as usual where possible, with the intention of containing and eventually defeating the virus, as well as advocating specific precautions that individuals should take to combat it," he added.

Prince William certainly doesn't seem concerned. The royal, who is currently touring Ireland with the Duchess of Cambridge, joked that they were "spreading coronavirus" during their trip.

Speaking with a paramedic at the National Ambulance Service, he said: "I bet everyone's like 'I've got coronavirus, I'm dying,' and you're like 'no, you've just got a cough.'

"Does it seem quite dramatic about coronavirus at the moment?" he asked. "Is it being a little bit hyped up do you think in the media?"

The couple continued their visit as usual, shaking hands with the public without the use of gloves.

"We are in unchartered territory here, but business as usual is the way the royal family, which is influenced by precedent, is used to operating," Fitzwilliams said.

"You could not get a better guide to the delicate balance needed here than the Queen, with her wealth of experience and pragmatism."

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