How the British Royal Family Is Reacting to the Coronavirus Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted people across the globe in an unprecedented way. The virus continues to spread rapidly worldwide — the current count is 1,446,242 cases and 83,424 deaths globally as of April 8 — and even the British royal family hasn’t been exempt from its effect. Wednesday’s news that Prince Charles has contracted COVID-19 was the latest update in how the pandemic has impacted the monarchy.

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.

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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 56,000 COVID-19 cases and there have been about 6,159 deaths.

Here, WWD breaks down the ways the royal family has reacted to and been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Queen Elizabeth Makes TV Rare Address on Pandemic

How Coronavirus Is Impacting the Royal Famil

Queen Elizabeth in a TV address from Windsor Castle, April 2020. 

Queen Elizabeth II gave a rare TV address on April 6 from Windsor Castle to speak to the British public on the COVID-19 pandemic. The address marked the fourth time during her reign that she chose to make a broadcast during a difficult time for the country.

The queen looked to her past during the address, recalling her very first broadcast she made as a teenager with her sister, Princess Margaret, during World War II.

“We, as children, spoke from here at Windsor to children who had been evacuated from their homes and sent away for their own safety,” she said. “Today, once again, many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones. But now, as then, we know deep down that it is the right thing to do.”

She used her address to praise the National Health Service workers and other essential workers, as well as remind the country to be united and resolute in order to get through the crisis.

Prince Charles Says He’s ‘On the Other Side of the Illness’

How the Royal Family Is Impacted by Coronavirus

Prince Charles at the London Transport Museum in March 2020.  Shutterstock

Prince Charles made his first statement since his COVID-19 diagnosis on April 1, speaking in a video statement released by Clarence House on Twitter.

“Having recently gone through the process of contracting the coronavirus, luckily with relatively mild symptoms, I now find myself on the other side of the illness, but still in no less a state of social distance and general isolation,” he said. “As we are all learning, this is a strange, frustrating and often distressing experience, when the presence of family and friends is no longer possible and the normal structure of life are suddenly removed.”

Prince Charles Contracts COVID-19

Prince Charles Contracts Coronavirus

Britain’s Prince Charles.  Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/Shutterstock

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.

It was revealed on March 27 that U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also tested positive for COVID-19.

Queen Elizabeth Releases Statement on COVID-19 

How British Royal Family Is Impacted by Coronavirus

Queen Elizabeth II in February 2020.  Shutterstock

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

Prince Charles, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall and Queen Elizabeth II on the balcony of Buckingham Palace100th Anniversary of the Royal Air Force, London, UK - 10 Jul 2018

Prince Charles, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall and Queen Elizabeth II on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in July 2018.  David Fisher/Shutterstock

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 in March. 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

Prince William, Prince Harry, Meghan Duchess of Sussex, Catherine Duchess of CambridgeNational Service to mark the Centenary of the Armistice, Westminster Abbey, London, UK - 11 Nov 2018

Prince William, Prince Harry, The Duchess of Sussex and the Duchess of Cambridge in November 2018.  Shutterstock

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.

It’s been reported that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, have left their Vancouver Island home — where they’ve been staying since announcing they’d be stepping down from the royal family — for Los Angeles, according to People.

The couple is said to be staying at a secluded compound in the city with their son Archie.

Princess Beatrice’s Wedding Is Canceled

How British Royal Family Is Impacted by Coronavirus

Princess Beatrice with Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in October 2019.  CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

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

How British Royal Family Is Impacted by Coronavirus

Princess Charlotte arrives for her first day of school at Thomas’s Battersea in London, accompanied by her brother Prince George in September 2019.  Shutterstock

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.

Youngest Royals Applaud COVID-19 Workers 

Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis Applaud Medical Workers Fighting Coronavirus

Prince William, Prince Louis, Princess Charlotte and Prince George in Norfolk by the Duchess of Cambridge.  The Duchess of Cambridge/Shutterstock

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shared a video on their Kensington Royal Instagram on March 26 showing their three children — Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis — applauding the health-care workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. The video is part of the National Health Service’s #ClapForOurCarers campaign.

“To all the doctors, nurses, carers, GPs, pharmacists, volunteers and other NHS staff working tirelessly to help those affected by #COVID-19: thank you,” the caption reads.

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