(LONDON) — Britain’s royal family is being affected by the coronavirus pandemic as cases of COVID-19, as it is officially known, continue to grow in the United Kingdom.
Prince George and Princess Charlotte, the two oldest children of Prince William and Kate, will be homeschooled starting Friday.
Their school, Thomas’s Battersea, a private school located near Kensington Palace, is switching to online learning for the week before school holidays, a spokesperson confirmed Wednesday.
The statement from Thomas’s Battersea came as U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that all schools in the country will be closed from Friday until further notice.
Thomas’s Battersea was affected by the coronavirus pandemic as early as February, when a few students at the school self-isolated as they awaited test results.
Kensington Palace has not commented. Prince William and Kate, also the parents of 1-year-old Prince Louis, have seen their schedule of official royal engagements reduced as events, like annual St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, have been canceled or postponed.
Prince William, Prince Harry and Meghan offer their help
Prince William spoke out Wednesday about a fundraising appeal launched by the National Emergencies Trust (NET) to help people in the U.K. affected by coronavirus.
“I dreaded the day when it would be needed,” William said in a video shared by Kensington Palace, referring to the NET, which was created last year to help people “at the time of a domestic disaster,” according to its website. “Sadly, with the outbreak of Covid-19, that day has come faster than any of us would have hoped.”
“Whenever and wherever adversity strikes, the people of the UK have a unique ability to pull together,” he said.
William’s brother Prince Harry and his wife Duchess Meghan also offered coronavirus help to the public via their Instagram account Sussex Royal.
The couple said they plan to share “information and resources to help all of us navigate the uncertainty: from posting accurate information and facts from trusted experts, to learning about measures we can take to keep ourselves and our families healthy, to working with organisations that can support our mental and emotional well-being.”
“In addition, we will focus on the inspiring stories of how so many of you around the world are connecting in ways big and small to lift all of us up,” they wrote.
Princess Beatrice’s wedding plans change
Prince William’s cousin, Princess Beatrice, is adjusting her wedding plans because of coronavirus.
Buckingham Palace announced Wednesday that Beatrice, the eldest daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, and her fiance Mapelli Mozzi have decided to cancel their wedding reception at Buckingham Palace Gardens and are reviewing all plans for their May 29th wedding.
“They are particularly conscious of government advice in relation to both the wellbeing of older family members and large gatherings of people,” the statement said, in part. “The couple will carefully consider government advice before deciding whether a private marriage might take place amongst a small group of family and friends.”
Queen Elizabeth leaves early for Windsor
Queen Elizabeth will leave her home at Buckingham Palace for Windsor Castle on Thursday, one week earlier than she had planned to leave for her Easter holiday, according to Buckingham Palace.
The 93-year-old queen, who is likely to stay at Windsor Castle beyond Easter Sunday, still received people at Buckingham Palace this week, though with the type of social distancing that experts recommend to slow the spread of coronavirus.
There were no handshakes when Queen Elizabeth welcomed Captain Angus Essenhigh, the new Commanding Officer of the Royal Navy warship HMS Queen Elizabeth, and his predecessor Commodore Steven Moorhouse, at Buckingham Palace Wednesday, according to the U.K. Press Association.
Annual royal events canceled
Buckingham Palace announced earlier this week it has canceled several upcoming events that were to be attended by large crowds and members of the royal family.
The canceled events include the annual Maundy Service at St. George’s Chapel, three garden parties hosted annually by Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace and two other garden parties given for the Not Forgotten Association and the National Trust, according to Buckingham Palace.
The palace said it is still waiting to decide whether other future events including Trooping the Colour and a state visit by the Emperor and Empress of Japan will go on.
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