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"We are studying the implications of the new Government advice and its impact on forthcoming events," palace officials said

By Conchita Margaret Widjojo and Simon Perry
March 17, 2020 10:31 AM
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Queen Elizabeth has canceled all her garden parties due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The three parties for hundreds of guests at Buckingham Palace each May are one of the highlights of the spring royal season. She also holds one at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland, later in the spring.

Around 30,000 people — dressed to the nines, with men in morning suits and top hats and women in whimsical fascinators — attend the events, which celebrate all areas of public life and British society.

The palace had been keeping all public engagements involving the royals under review. Officials said on Monday night, “We are studying the implications of the new Government advice and its impact on forthcoming events.”

Chelsea Flower Show 2018 - Press Day
Queen Elizabeth at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2018.
| Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty

Meanwhile, another staple of the season, Chelsea Flower Show, was also called off on Tuesday morning. The show, where Kate Middleton last year showed an interactive garden to highlight her campaign on outside play for children and families, is attended by the Queen and other members of the family on the first day.

The festival of flowers was set to run from May 19 to 23.

Queen Elizabeth II and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Queen Elizabeth at the Chelsea Flower Show with Kate Middleton in 2019.
| Credit: Geoff Pugh/WPA Pool/Getty Images

A spokesperson for the Royal Horticultural Society that hosts the event said in a statement, “Following the Government update on 16 March 2020 and ongoing situation with COVID-19, all RHS Shows, Garden events and school visits will be cancelled with immediate effect until 30 June 2020. RHS Gardens remain open, with a number of increased precautionary measures in place.”

“This is a worldwide unprecedented and challenging time for so many people and of course the health and safety of our members, visitors, exhibitors and staff remains our number one priority.”

The announcement comes after Queen Elizabeth‘s visit to Cheshire and Camden this month was canceled, as was her son Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall’s scheduled tour of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Cyprus and Jordan, due to the concerns of the rising coronavirus crisis.

“Owing to the unfolding situation with the Coronavirus pandemic, The British Government has asked Their Royal Highnesses to postpone their spring tour to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus and Jordan,” their office said in a statement.

Trooping The Colour
Credit: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images
The Prince Of Wales Attends A Dinner In Aid Of The Australian Bushfire Relief And Recovery Effort
Prince Charles
| Credit: Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty

Charles’ younger brother Prince Edward was due to hold a dinner and a reception ahead of his upcoming engagements, but had to postpone them due to the pandemic.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, many royal families’ lives, like many public citizens’, have been uprooted, leading to the cancellation of official engagements, minimal interaction with members of the public and even relocating in order to follow public health authority advice.

Earlier this month, the 93-year-old monarch wore gloves to an investiture ceremony, which led to speculation of whether it was a safety measure from coronavirus.It is not uncommon for the Queen to wear gloves, but she has not been known to wear them during an investiture ceremony when she’s awarding honors and shaking hands with members of the public.

Commonwealth Day
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles
| Credit: ui Mok/PA Images via Getty

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The Prince of Wales, 71, has been using an alternative to the formal handshake by offering a namaste to greet others at royal engagements. Charles first started using the gesture at the Commonwealth Service, where other royals including Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Kate Middleton and Prince William also appeared to refrain from shaking hands with fellow attendees.

More than 1,500 people have tested positive for the virus in the U.K., though the actual number of cases is estimated to be between 35,000 to 50,000, according to the BBC. Additionally, up to 55 people in the U.K. have died from the virus.