Major change to royal protocol amid coronavirus pandemic

Penny Burfitt
Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
Queen Elizabeth II meets High Commissioner of Sri Lanka Saroja Sirisena and Sudath Talpahewa with a notable lack of handshaking. Photo: Getty Images

The COVID-19 outbreak has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation this morning, and now the world’s most famous family is making unprecedented changes to deal with the outbreak.

The royals seem to have stopped greeting their guests and subjects with handshakes, as fears of the virus heighten.

The Queen did away with the age-old British greeting when meeting visitors at Buckingham Palace this week, after last week donning gloves to greet her guests as a precaution.

On Tuesday, while greeting official guest the Sri Lankan High Commissioner Saroja Sirisena and her husband, the Queen was seen keeping a solid distance from the pair and forgoing the classic greeting.

Queen Elizabeth steered clear of physical contact. Photo: Getty Images

It has not been confirmed however that the protocol is an official stance, as the Queen was today spotted cutting loose with a bare handshake in an audience with Professor Mark Compton.

It seems all the other royals are attempting to cut the shake, however, though some are struggling to keep up.

Charles struggles with COVID-19 precaution

Prince Charles is doing his darndest to retract the handshake he has used to greet people for the past seven decades or so, but it seems to be proving a struggle.

One hilarious video shows the Prince arriving at the Prince's Trust Awards on Wednesday where he debuts his new greeting - a traditional ‘namaste’ complete with clasped hands - after a bit of trial and error.

The video shows the Prince reach for a handshake upon leaving his car before suddenly remembering the new rule and, with a small jump, pulling his hand back.

Prince Charles tried to shake the hand of Sir Kenneth Olisa, The Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London (left) before he changes to use a Namaste gesture. Photo: Getty Images

Just moments later he again makes the same mistake.

The Prince heads over to a row of waiting guests and again stretches out his hand for a handshake, before snapping it back with a laugh as he remembers.

Photos from the rest of the event show the prince greeting everyone from celebrities to dignitaries with the ‘namaste’ gesture, a true departure from the firm British shake.

Charles greeted Pierce Brosnan and Anna Friel. Photo: Getty Images

It is an about-face from the family, two of whom last week openly joked about the virus and it’s implications while on official visits.

Prince William was last week slammed for joking about the virus while meeting with a paramedic in Ireland.

Even Charles’ wife Camilla made a cheeky remark.

The Duchess of Cornwall was heard saying: “I’m self-isolating” by ITV journalist Chris Ship as she stepped into a one-person air-raid shelter during an official royal visit to the London Transport Museum.

COVID-19 continues to sweep globe

Waiters pile up chairs and prepare to close. Photo: Getty Images

The video is for many a welcome moment of levity as the virus continues to sweep through the globe.

The entire nation of Italy is now in lockdown as the virus claims 827 victims of more than 10,000 infected as of Thursday.

Australian’s have responded with a degree of panic, as toilet paper bizarrely became the most coveted item to hoard in preparation for potential self-isolations, and the Prime Minister has now declared an $18 billion rescue package including direct to household benefits.

For those interested in truly preparing for a possible stint at home if the virus reaches your workplace or family, experts have revealed to Yahoo Lifestyle the real items you should be purchasing to keep yourself prepared.

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