The Queen ditched her gloves as she carried out audiences at Buckingham Palace – but will be following Government advice on washing hands amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The 93-year-old monarch unusually wore large white gloves at a Palace investiture for what was believed to be the first time on Tuesday, as she greeted more than 50 recipients.
But on Wednesday, for her one-to-one audiences in her London residence, during which she never wears gloves, she was back to being bare-handed.
The Queen, dressed in a vibrant red dress, met President of Malta George Vella in the Palace’s 1844 room.
She also held an audience with Cuban Ambassador Barbara Montalvo Alvarez.
The monarch shook hands with her guests, who were also without gloves.
A royal source has previously said that Buckingham Palace is following Government advice.
It is therefore likely that the Queen will be helping to stop the spread of any germs by washing her hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, or using hand sanitiser, more often, and regularly throughout the day.
The royal family’s social media accounts posted footage of the monarch greeting the Maltese president and his wife, Miriam.
🇲🇹 The President of Malta, George Vella and Mrs. Vella meet The Queen at Buckingham Palace.— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) March 4, 2020
🌍 Her Majesty last visited Malta in 2015 to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting. pic.twitter.com/M3LcZoZHw2
Mr Vella can be heard telling the Queen he had “always dreamt about” meeting her and “at last it has happened”.
“Oh, that’s very nice, isn’t it,” the Queen remarks.
The Queen lived in Malta during the early years of her marriage to the Duke of Edinburgh, when Philip was serving in the Navy.
An audience is a brief, one-on-one meeting with the Queen, and they happen regularly throughout her working week.
The majority are for members of the diplomatic community, though the Queen also welcomes political, religious and military leaders, and people who have won prestigious cultural prizes.
Audiences generally last approximately 15 to 20 minutes, and the conversations which take place are entirely private.
The Queen shakes hands with her guests, who are often accompanied by a close family member, usually a spouse.
If they are diplomats, they hand the Queen their credentials – their Letters of Credence or Letters of High Commission.
The Queen turns 94 next month, and the risk of more severe symptoms of the coronavirus is greater for the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions.
England’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, has said the death rate for people infected with coronavirus is “significantly ramped up” among those over the age of 80.
World Health Organisation director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has advised anyone over the age of 60 to avoid crowded areas.
Around the world, people are rejecting handshakes and refusing kisses in an attempt to reduce the spread of the disease.
A video widely shared showed people in China tapping their feet against one another – dubbed the “Wuhan Shake” – as a hands-free greeting.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he will continue to shake hands with people despite the outbreak of coronavirus.
PMs usually have an audience with the Queen each Wednesday, where they typically shake the monarch’s hand.