Will the Queen have to self-isolate? How world's royal families are affected by coronavirus

Rebecca Taylor
Royal Correspondent
The Queen is understood to be following government advice. (Getty Images)

The Queen has cancelled engagements and may have to take extra precautions amid the spread of coronavirus.

The 93-year-old monarch cancelled visits to Cheshire and Camden “as a sensible precaution” as more cases are confirmed daily.

She is also said to be prepared to follow government advice - which could mean all over-70s have to stay inside and avoid crowds.

It comes as royal families worldwide are having to adapt and change their procedures to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

Earlier in March, the King and Queen of Spain were tested for coronavirus after a cabinet minister contracted the illness. However their tests were both negative.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected thousands of people around the world, with governments taking extra precautions and issuing advice to keep people safe.

Here’s how the world’s royal families are taking precautions.

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Britain’s Royal Family

The Queen has cancelled two engagements, one in Cheshire and one in Camden, as a “sensible precaution”, but is to continue hosting her audiences at Buckingham Palace.

She left her London home for Windsor Castle on Friday, sparking concerns it was based on the coronavirus spread. However, she returned to the capital on Monday, meaning the weekend trip was likely part of her normal routine.

She spends most of her weekends at Windsor.

Plans are in place to quarantine Her Majesty - who turns 94 next month - and Prince Philip, 98, at Sandringham if the outbreak worsens.

Last week, she was seen with and without gloves, as well as shaking and not shaking hands - but she is said to be following government advice.

Prince Charles has adopted a namaste greeting, and he recently used it during the Prince’s Trust Awards.

He has now postponed a spring tour of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, and Jordan that he was due to undertake with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

At the Commonwealth Day service last week, no one shook hands following protocol adopted by Westminster Abbey.

Prince Harry was spotted elbow bumping with Craig David, while Prince William was reported to have called the whole thing “weird” as he clasped his hands together to make sure he denied his instincts to reach out.

Charles has been using the namaste greeting instead of shaking hands. (Getty Images)

There have not been many changes to the Duke of Cambridge’s engagements.

William and Kate travelled around Ireland for their most recent tour as planned, and did not stop shaking hands. The duke was even heard making a joke with a paramedic about coronavirus.

Read more: Queen shakes hands again after coronavirus ban

The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall are also going ahead with their upcoming tour. The duke will be going to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the couple will jointly visit Cyprus and Jordan.

The Queen has been shaking hands on some occasions and not others. (Press Association)

It’s also understood that Prince Harry and Meghan left their son Archie in Canada when they came to the UK for their farewell tour because of the outbreak.

The royal couple were said to be worried about his health amid the coronavirus scare, according to Bryony Gordon of The Daily Telegraph.

Soon to be royal, Edo Mapelli Mozzi, who is set to marry Princess Beatrice in May, also weighed in with his thoughts on Twitter.

He said: “Would it be possible for the supermarkets to only allow elderly shoppers in first, so that they can shop before the rest of us, as the shops will be clean/disinfected, and before the shelves are all cleared.”

He also shared the viral kindness campaign, which encourages people to share their details with those who have to isolate, and help collect shopping or post letters for those who can’t leave their homes.

Austria’s Royal Family

The Austrian monarchy is the first to have been hit with a case of coronavirus according to OE24, an Austrian news outlet.

Archduke Karl von Habsburg confirmed he has contracted Covid-19.

He told OE24: “It's annoying, but I'm fine. It's not the black plague.

“I thought it was the usual flu. When a friend called me that he had a positive test at a congress in Switzerland, I was also tested.”

He praised the emergency services for their response.

Karl Habsburg told OE24 he has got coronavirus. (Reuters)

Spain’s Royal Family

King Felipe and Queen Letizia were both tested for coronavirus after she met a minister of the government who was subsequently diagnosed with it.

The tests were reported to have returned negative.

Reuters reported the rest of the family were be tested too.

The Queen had a meeting with Irene Montero who has the virus. The pair were pictured at a meeting with a charity that looks after sex workers.

Irene Montero and Queen Letizia of Spain attend a meeting with APRAMP Prostitution Women Association in Madrid. (Getty Images)

The White House has also postponed the Spanish royals’ trip to Washington amid the pandemic.

The Hill reports the King and Queen were due to visit on 21 April.

Stephanie Grisham said the postponement is for “the United States and Spain to continue to devote their full resources and attention to the COVID-19 response”.

The trip will take place at another time.

Belgium’s Royal Family

The Belgian royals had a tour to Italy cancelled at the request of the Italian president, according to Royal Central.

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde will make the trip at another time.

King Philippe uses hand sanitiser during a visit to Sciensano in Uccle. (Getty Images)

A statement said: “The visit was planned from 23rd to 25th March 2020. The current phase of corona epidemic and the implementation of new emergency measures by the Italian authorities means it is not possible to carry out the visit’s programme.”

Northern Italy has been one of the worst hit areas outside of China.

King Philippe also visited Sciensano in Uccle where they are working on the country’s response to coronavirus.

Images shared afterwards showed him applying hand sanitiser.

Norway’s Royal Family

King Harald cancelled all official events until Easter on 11 March.

In a statement, he said: “Our country is in a serious situation that affects individuals and society as a whole. It is crucial that we all participate in the national quest to avoid exposing ourselves or others to infection. It is therefore important that we all follow recommendations and orders from the authorities. 

“We must contribute what we can to prevent the spread of the virus, and I would especially like to thank health professionals all over the country who are doing their utmost to remedy the situation these days. We all hope that developments will soon turn around.”

King Harald V of Norway (R) and his wife Queen Sonja have cancelled their engagements until Easter. (Getty Images)

Read more: The 360: Can the NHS deal with a coronavirus pandemic?

He also addressed the people of Norway from quarantine in the Royal Lodge, in a short live televised speech.

He said: “My thoughts and prayers are with health professionals all over the country, day and night. With those who are experiencing financial loss and fear for the future. 

“I would like to remind you that everyone needs some extra kindness during this time. Together we stand in this. And together we will be able to get through what lies ahead.”

Norway’s crown prince opened a conference and gave his speech only for it to be cancelled later the same day, according to Royal Central.

In Oslo, Crown Prince Haakon opened the Statped Conference which was, at the time, carrying on despite health advice to avoid large crowds.

Later that day, new health advice was issued suggesting any event of more than 500 people should be cancelled, and the conference organisers decided to cancel the remaining events.

Denmark’s Royal Family

Two weeks’ worth of engagements have been cancelled in Denmark because of coronavirus.

Engagements included school visits, the opening of Carlsberg’s headquarters, and a hospice visit.

Blog Gert’s Royals also reports there were a number of engagements cancelled in the first weeks of March too.

Read more: Greta Thunberg speaks out on coronavirus: 'Back the experts'

Prince Christian, Princess Isabella, Prince Vincent & Princess Josephine also ended their 12-week school stay in Switzerland early because of the virus.

They returned to Denmark to “stand with the Danes”. They will be educated at home until schools in Denmark open again.

Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary brought three of their children back from school in Switzerland. (Getty Images)

The Queen gave a speech on Tuesday evening, which reminded citizens the rules were “serious” and apply to everyone.

Queen Margrethe said: “Corona virus is a dangerous guest. It spreads like rings in the water and it goes strong. One person can infect many - even without feeling ill themselves, and the infection goes on to even more, a long and frightening chain. In that chain, humans will die. 

“It is the chain that we must break and that we can break. It can only happen when we all think and do the same thing at the same time - and in the right time.”

Sweden’s Royal Family

The crown princess’s name day celebrations were hit by coronavirus.

The annual parade, which attracts thousands of people, was cancelled amid fears of spreading the virus.

Princess Victoria’s day is usually celebrated with a tribute from the armed forces. This time it was marked without any guests.

A statement from the family said it was: “For the sake of the public, which at the celebration usually gather on a limited area with some congestion, and based on the Public Health Authority's risk assessment of the new coronavirus.”

An official dinner at the Royal Palace on 4 March was also postponed out of consideration for the invited guests.

Luxembourg’s Royal Family

Several planned engagements and events over the next two weeks have been cancelled.

However, German TV channel RTL reported the palace was unable to confirm the details of why events were being cancelled, but said government advice was being followed.

Netherlands’ Royal Family

The Dutch monarchs continued with their trip to Indonesia despite coronavirus worries.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of The Netherlands continued with their planned tour in Indonesia. (Getty Images)

One person has died in Indonesia, but it was a British woman.

According to Netherlands Times, Queen Maxima said she and her husband “did not shake hands during the entire state visit and wash our hands often. And don't touch our faces”.

However, the royals are now practicing social distancing, after a holiday in Lech, Austria. They are not sick or showing symptoms of coronavirus.

King Willem-Alexander also offered his support to the doctors and nurses dealing with the virus.

On Twitter, the royals shared a video showing King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima and the Princesses Amalia, Alexia and Ariane applauding all care workers.

The website reports the cancellation of several engagements, through to King’s Day at the end of April.

The royal palace in Amsterdam is closed until 6 April.