No Handshakes at the Commonwealth Service 2020: Royal Protocol?


During the annual Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on Monday there were no handshaking between guests. 

The protocol which was also mentioned by Prince William was put in place by Westminster Abbey as they were concerned about any possible risk of the coronavirus.

Prince Harry joked with Lord Howell, chairman of the council of Commonwealth Societies, about the protocol, admitting it was odd not shaking hands. He said: “It’s very odd not shaking hands, I try my best to hold my hands like that,” laughing as he clasped them together and held them against his waist.

 A spokesperson for the Abbey said: “Westminster Abbey is acutely aware of the risks posed by the spread of novel coronavirus. In recent weeks we have advised members of our congregation to avoid shaking hands.” 

However other royals and guests still found other ways to greet other attendees as Prince Harry was seen bumping elbows with Craig David when they met at the end of service, while the Duchess of Sussex went over to hug a performer (Meghan seem to be a bit of a hugger).

The Duke of Cambridge had previously made reference to the coronavirus during a reception hosted by Britain’s Ambassador to Ireland, Robin Barnett, during his recent visit to Dublin. He told a paramedic at the event that both he and the Duchess of Cambridge were keeping an eye on the coronavirus. A royal source said during their tour of Ireland that the couple were taking guidance from Public Health England and the Department of Health, and that it was currently still business as usual for the time being.

Members of the royal family received  ponies after the service and chatted with guests while leaving the venue.

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