The royal family began making changes to their daily schedules in early March as COVID-19 became a more serious public health crisis. Queen Elizabeth II, for one, left Buckingham Palace for Windsor Castle a week earlier than she initially planned for the Easter holiday. She is now said to be staying at the castle with the ailing Prince Philip well beyond the Easter holiday.
The youngest royals, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, have also been impacted by COVID-19, as their school has shut down, like many others have been globally.
In the U.K., there are roughly 8,000 COVID-19 cases and there have been about 422 deaths, as of March 25.
Here, WWD breaks down the ways the royal family has reacted to and been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prince Charles Contracts COVID-19
It was revealed by Clarence House on March 25 that Prince Charles has contracted COVID-19. The 71-year-old prince began experiencing mild symptoms on March 22 and was tested for the virus the following day.
The Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker Bowles, has tested negative for COVID-19. Both royals are self-isolating separately at their home at Balmoral in Scotland. The prince is said to be in good health despite his mild symptoms.
Clarence House’s statement also revealed that “it is not possible to ascertain from whom the prince caught the virus owing to the high number of engagements he carried out in his public role during recent weeks.”
An additional statement from Buckingham Palace revealed that “Her Majesty The Queen remains in good health” and that the queen last saw her son on March 12.
Prince Charles is the second major European royal to contract COVID-19. Last week it was confirmed that Prince Albert of Monaco also has COVID-19. Both royals attended the WaterAid Climate Summit in London on March 10 before quarantine and social distancing measures were enacted.
Queen Elizabeth Releases Statement on COVID-19
Queen Elizabeth made her first public remarks on the COVID-19 pandemic on March 19 with a statement released by Buckingham Palace.
“We know that many individuals and families across the United Kingdom, and around the world, are entering a period of great concern and uncertainty,” the statement reads. “At times such as these, I am reminded that our nation’s history has been forged by people and communities coming together to work as one, concentrating our combined efforts with a focus on the common goal.”
The queen also advised that changing normal routines — like self-isolating and social distancing — is for “the greater good of the communities we live in and, in particular, to protect the most vulnerable within them.”
She then stated that the royal family “stand ready to play our part” in fighting the pandemic.
On March 23, the Times of London reported that Queen Elizabeth is planning to make a televised address in the coming weeks and is in talks with the British government to determine the proper timing.
Royal Family Cancels Tours
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread rapidly, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall all canceled their upcoming travel plans.
The queen, who is 93, was set to travel to Cheshire and Camden in England later this month. Instead, the queen left Buckingham Palace for Windsor Castle on March 19 for the Easter holiday, a week earlier than initially planned. A statement by Buckingham Palace reveals she will be staying at the castle well beyond the Easter holiday.
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall also canceled their royal tour of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus and Jordan from March 17 to 25.
Royal Family Self-Isolates
The royal family has been self-isolating in compliance with orders by the U.K. government.
As reported, the queen and Prince Philip are staying at Windsor Castle while Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall are at Balmoral in Scotland.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, are at the queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England with their three children.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, have been at their Vancouver Island home with their son Archie since leaving the U.K. earlier this month after participating in their last royal engagements before stepping down from their roles.
Princess Beatrice’s Wedding Is Canceled
Princess Beatrice, who is the daughter of Prince Andrew and granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth, and her fiancé Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi have canceled their wedding reception at the gardens at Buckingham Palace due to the pandemic. The wedding was scheduled for May 29.
A release confirmed the news on March 18, stating: “Princess Beatrice and Mr. Mapelli Mozzi are very much looking forward to getting married, but are equally aware of the need to avoid undertaking any unnecessary risks in the current circumstances.”
The release states the couple is rethinking their arrangements for the wedding and are deciding if a private wedding with a small group of people would be safe for their guests.
Prince George and Princess Charlotte Start Homeschooling
Prince George and Princess Charlotte have joined the growing number of children globally who are being homeschooled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The young royals’ school, Thomas’s Battersea, announced on March 18 that it would be transitioning to remote learning as of March 20.
“From this date the curriculum will be taught through online learning platforms and we have asked parents to keep their children at home and to access their lessons through this system. This will ensure that children have continuity of learning when they are unable to attend school,” the school said in a statement.
The change is likely to not have a substantial effect on the prince and princess as their semester is set to end on March 26.
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