Royals and the Coronavirus

As you all are probably too aware, the world is in the midst of a global pandemic, the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which has affected everyone, least of all Royalty, and in this article, we are rounding up the responses from Royals in almost every country and talking about how the virus has affected their schedules in the coming months.

Belgium

In addition to King Philippe and Queen Mathilde dramatically limiting their duties in the near future, the Belgian State Visit to Italy was postponed and Crown Princess Elisabeth will return to Belgium from her school in Wales. King Philippe of Belgium addressed the nation on the crisis in both Dutch and French.

My dear compatriots,

Our country is facing an unprecedented global health crisis. Belgium is today in a crucial phase to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Our authorities have taken their responsibilities by adopting drastic measures which oblige us to modify our way of life, for ourselves, but especially for the others and in particular the most vulnerable.

Mathilde and I think of each of you, above all of you who are affected by the disease. We think of you, our elders, who feel isolated, separated from your loved ones. To you parents who are led to reorganize you. And to you young people from whom we expect responsible behavior. Our attitude is essential. We can save lives.

On behalf of the entire country, I would like to thank those who are dedicated day and night to providing primary care and in our hospitals. We are aware of the exceptional efforts that our doctors, nurses and all health professionals provide.

This crisis has severely affected our businesses, our businesses, many workers and the self-employed. Most of the economic sectors of our country are impacted. They make courageous decisions to lessen the shock.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The current situation reminds us of our vulnerability but also reveals our strength. The spontaneous gestures of generosity and solidarity that have multiplied in recent days make me warm in the heart. I encourage them. Each of us has a role to play in overcoming this crisis. I am confident that we will grow out of this ordeal.

Denmark

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“Jeg har en appel til alle: Corona-virus er en farlig gæst. Den spreder sig som ringe i vandet, og det går stærkt. Én person kan smitte mange – endda uden selv at føle sig syg, og smitten går videre rundt til endnu flere, en lang og skræmmende kæde. I den kæde vil mennesker dø.  Et barn kan miste sin bedstemor, en datter sin far, en hustru sin mand. Venner vil pludselig ikke være der mere.  Det er den kæde, vi skal bryde, og som vi kan bryde. Det kan kun ske, når vi alle tænker os om og gør det samme på samme tid – og i rette tid.  Myndighedernes råd er egentlig ret enkle: Vask hænder. Hold afstand. Undgå fysisk kontakt. Bliv hjemme.” Læs hele Hendes Majestæt Dronningens tale til befolkningen på Kongehusets hjemmeside. 📸 Kim Refslund, DR ©

A post shared by DET DANSKE KONGEHUS (@detdanskekongehus) on

In Denmark, Queen Margrethe II gave an unprecedented address to the Danish people from Fredensborg Palace, days after returning early from her annual holiday in Norway, around the time the Crown Princely Family returned earlier than planned from their stay in Switzerland. In addition, Queen Margrethe’s lavish 80th birthday celebrations in April (which promised to be the most glittering event of the year) have been cancelled along with all other upcoming events in their diary.. The Queen’s speech:

Denmark is in a serious situation. We share that fate with all of Europe, yes, with the rest of the world. Many people have been affected by the corona virus and we know that many more will be ill in the near future. I can understand that many are troubled and worried, because our reality and our everyday lives have been turned upside down.

We have become accustomed to the world being open, now the borders are closed.  Spring is coming, Denmark is bursting with life. Now everyday life is put on hold. It feels both scary and unreal, but it is our new reality and we must realize and learn that it requires something from all of us. Over the past week, the authorities have had to make a number of necessary decisions that we can all feel in our daily lives.

It concerns all of us. A little while ago, the Prime Minister had to make even stronger decisions. We must do something each and every one.What we do and how we act these days can be crucial to how the situation develops in the coming weeks.

That’s why I’m sitting here tonight. I have an appeal to everyone: Corona virus is a dangerous guest. It spreads like rings in the water and it goes strong. One person can infect many – even without feeling ill themselves, and the infection goes on to even more, a long and frightening chain. In that chain, humans will die.

A child may lose his grandmother, a daughter his father, a wife her husband. Friends suddenly won’t be there anymore. It is the chain that we must break and that we can break. It can only happen when we all think and do the same thing at the same time – and in the right time. The advice of the authorities is actually quite simple: Wash hands. Keep distance. Avoid physical contact. Stay home.

Those are the ground rules, and many people happily follow them; but unfortunately, not everyone takes the situation seriously enough. It is serious and it applies to all of us. Of course, it is disappointing and unfortunate not to be able to meet with your friends, especially when you are young. But you have both the time for you and other ways to meet in this digital age. Of course, my call does not only apply to young people. You can still see groups of all ages staying too close together. Some even still hold parties and round birthdays. I don’t think you can be familiar. It’s mindless. And first and foremost, it is ruthless.

We have already had several deaths from corona virus. Tonight I send my deepest condolences to the survivors. My thoughts go to everyone who has fallen ill and to their relatives here in Denmark, in Greenland and in the Faroe Islands. I also think of all the Danes abroad who right now feel far from home.

My warmest thanks go to everyone who keeps the necessary features of our community going. To the health personnel, emergency preparedness, defense and police. For shop employees, drivers and anyone who fits their work in difficult conditions. I also warmly thank the authorities for taking on the heavy responsibility that is theirs. In our father’s time we hold together, it lies deep within us people, it also naturally falls to us here in the country. This time, we must show unity by staying away. It is natural that we are concerned, but together we can create new hope in a difficult time. My thoughts go to each one in this country with the desire for hope and confidence and good courage.

[I was on an exchange semester in Denmark (I choose it mainly to be able to witness the birthday celebrations), but have been recalled back to Canada by my university after circumstances rapidly changed in the past few days]

Japan

In Japan, Banquets to celebrate Crown Prince Fumihito’s elevation as the heir to the throne are cancelled and the State Visit of the Emperor and Empress to the United Kingdom has been postponed.

Jordan

Luxembourg

In Luxembourg, Grand Duke Henri gave an address, the State Visit from the Republic of Cabo Verde was postponed, and all upcoming engagements will be reviewed on a day to day basis.

Monaco

Just two days after giving a speech on the crisis, Prince Albert II of Monaco has tested positive for COVID-19, though the Prince’s Palace has stated that he is doing well and still working at his desk.

The Netherlands

After retuning from their State Visit to Indonesia, and their annual skiing holiday in Austria, the Dutch Royal Family are in self-isolation, releasing a video for all health care workers, to support them in their fight against the coronavirus and their commitment to the health of everyone in the Netherlands. Almost all engagements for the next two months have been cancelled, including Koningsdag (King’s Day), the annual celebration of the King’s Birthday. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima also released a message:

Healthcare professionals are working all out to combat coronavirus. Our thoughts are with them and their patients, and with everyone in our Kingdom who is under intense pressure at present: business owners worried about their company, teachers working on remote teaching methods, and public leaders doing whatever is necessary. The widespread solidarity is heartwarming, if only because of the many helping hands reaching out to the elderly. Thank you!”

UPDATE: King Willem-Alexander has given a Speech on the crisis:

In the space of just a few weeks, our daily lives have changed drastically. The coronavirus is affecting all of us. In the Netherlands, in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom and in the rest of the world.

Those who are severely ill and their families are the worst affected. We deeply sympathise with the relatives of those who have died, and with those who have contracted the virus and are currently at home or in hospital. Our thoughts are with you at this difficult time. The measures that have been taken to restrict the virus are drastic but necessary. I understand your distress at not being able to visit your loved ones, your mother, father, grandmother or grandfather in their care homes. Especially now when you only want one thing: to hold their hand and comfort them.

The efforts being made in many fields are exceptional. That of course includes our doctors and nurses. You have rightly received a great deal of praise from people throughout the country. We are extremely proud of our healthcare workers and the entire medical sector. Thousands of former healthcare professionals and other volunteers are coming forward to offer their help. That’s fantastic. We can also be proud of the specialists at the RIVM (the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment), the municipal health services and all the other expert bodies that are showing us the way with information based on scientific research and knowledge based on experience. They are under enormous pressure. It’s important that we continue to place our trust in them and follow all their instructions. Their one and only aim is to get us through this crisis together as best we can whilst minimising the risks for those who are vulnerable.

We realise all too well how essential the people are who are helping to prevent our society from coming to a complete standstill. Those working in logistics, supermarkets, the cleaning sector, ICT, education, childcare, public transport, the police and many other fields. You are carrying us through this extremely difficult time. Without you, we simply could not manage. Thank you so much.

Our heart goes out to everyone who has deep concerns about whether their businesses will survive. Whether you are an export organisation or self-employed, this will be hitting you hard. It’s terrible to see all the years of love and hard work you put into your company suddenly endangered. The same applies to people working in the cultural sector, whose creative projects will now have been put on hold.

All the children in the Netherlands are also in my thoughts. I know how you must be feeling: excited at first about all the free time you have. But it quickly wears off. Not being able to go to school. Or to football or ballet class. Birthday parties that won’t take place. That’s quite hard. For parents too! Suddenly you’re at home with the whole family. Forced to work from home, with little possibility of going anywhere because all sorts of outings and events you were looking forward to have now been cancelled…

It’s quite a challenge for all of us. When people are uncertain or scared, they feel a great need for human contact. You want to share your story with someone. You want to have familiar faces around you. Leave your worries behind you for a little while. That has become much more difficult under the current circumstances. We miss our daily routines. The sports club, coffee morning, music society, our family weekend, the church service. Missing all those things makes this situation extra difficult to deal with, especially for elderly people who are vulnerable. Thankfully, there is still a lot we can do. We all know someone in our vicinity who will be needing people to look out for them. This is something we need to get through together. Many people realise that. They are keeping an eye out for others and helping out when and where they can. We cannot stop the coronavirus. What we can do is stop the loneliness virus!

Let’s make sure together that nobody feels abandoned. Thankfully, even when you can’t visit people anymore, we have many ways to communicate: online, by phone or by post. And the Netherlands wouldn’t be the Netherlands if people didn’t spontaneously offer their help. People willing to lend a hand in nearby care homes. People volunteering to work for a helpline. Students offering to babysit for parents in key professions. Corona has unleashed an incredible amount of positive energy, creativity and public-spiritedness. These are the qualities we will be needing not only for the time being, but certainly also later on should things get even more challenging. Despite public life coming to a grinding halt, you are the ones who are keeping the heart of our society beating. Alertness, solidarity and kindness: as long as we can sustain these qualities we will be able to tackle this crisis together, even if it lasts for some time.

2020 will be a year to remember. Everyone will experience it differently. But I hope and believe that feelings of solidarity and pride will prevail and bring us all closer, as we get through this most difficult of times together.

Norway

King Harald and Queen Sonja have been in self-isolation since returning to Norway from their State Visit to Jordan, all events have been cancelled until Easter, and King Harald has addressed the nation:

We find ourselves in a situation that is both unreal, alien and frightening for all of us. We do not recognize our everyday life or the world around us. And yet we are only standing at the beginning of something we do not fully know the consequences of.

Uncertainty makes us vulnerable. The seriousness makes us anxious. The new everyday life can give us a feeling of powerlessness. Norway is affected along with the rest of the world. Now our most important task is to try to slow down the dramatic development – by following the orders given by the authorities.

We can be grateful that we have political leaders and professional authorities with the courage and knowledge to deal with the situation with honesty and realism. Norway is known as a trust society. Now there is a special need to show each other confidence. Both ensure that everyone takes responsibility for preventing the spread of infection. And for the country’s authorities to make good and wise decisions.

My thoughts and prayers are with you all now. With you who are sick and with you who are relatives. With health professionals all over the country, day and night. With those who are experiencing financial loss and fear for the future. To all of you who hold important social functions so that our country can function.

In all the children – who may be particularly anxious now – and whom we must take extra care of. And with those who feel the loneliness because our small and large communities are temporarily taken away from us.
Finally, I would like to remind you that everyone needs a little extra kindness during this time. Together  we stand in this. And together we will be able to get through what lies ahead.

Spain

King Felipe and Queen Letizia’s State Visit to the United States has been postponed and the King gave also a speech to the nation:

Allow me to address you, in moments of great concern and concern about this health crisis we are experiencing, not only in Spain but throughout Europe and the rest of the world.

This afternoon I met with the Prime Minister and the Coronavirus Technical Management Committee to analyze the latest information on the epidemic and the measures adopted after the declaration of the State of Alarm, which our democratic system provides for in the Constitution. The entire State, all public institutions, are committed to solving this crisis, which is our essential priority, and all Spaniards can feel protected.

We are facing a new and different, unprecedented, very serious and serious crisis that puts our health at risk in every corner of Spain. But also, and in a very traumatic way, it alters and conditions our customs and the normal development of our lives, employment and our companies; in short, our well-being. But it is also a crisis that we are fighting and that we are going to overcome and overcome.

In this situation, the first thing I want to do is send all my love and affection, together with the Queen and our daughters, to so many families throughout Spain who have unfortunately suffered the loss of one of their loved ones. We also do it to all those who are especially affected, both personally and in your environment, by this virus and its consequences. To all of you, a lot of strength and a lot of encouragement. Secondly, today it is more fair than ever to thank all people, entities and public services, without exception, who are helping and sacrificing for others. And I want to embody that gratitude in one of them: We knew that we have a great healthcare system and extraordinary professionals; I want to address them now: you have our greatest admiration and respect, our full support. You are the vanguard of Spain in the fight against this disease, you are our first line of defense.

Those who every day and at all hours of the day, are caring for those affected, healing the sick, giving comfort and hope to those who need it.Your professionalism, dedication to others, your courage and personal sacrifice are an unforgettable example. We can never thank you enough for what you are doing for your country. It cannot surprise you that an exciting and heartfelt applause is heard from the houses of all Spain. A sincere and fair applause, which I am sure comforts and encourages you. There are moments in the history of peoples in which reality tests us in a difficult, painful and sometimes extreme way; moments in which the values ​​of a society and the very capacity of a State are put to the test. I am sure that we are all going to set an example, once again, of responsibility, of a sense of duty, of civility and humanity, of dedication and effort and, above all, of solidarity –especially with the most vulnerable–, so that no one can feeling lonely or helpless

Now we must put aside our differences. We must unite around the same objective: to overcome this serious situation. And we have to do it together; among all; with serenity and confidence, but also with determination and energy. Now we have to resist, we have to endure and we have to adapt our ways of life and our behaviors to the instructions of our authorities and the recommendations of our experts to beat the virus. We must all contribute to that collective effort with our attitudes and our actions, however small they may be.

I know that it is easy to say it, and I also know that it is not easy to do it in these circumstances: organize each one at work, at home, with his family, or with his children. But it is what we must do for the good of all. Because each and every one of us is part of the solution to this crisis.

This is a temporary crisis. A parenthesis in our lives. We will return to normal. Definitely. And we will do it sooner rather than later: if we do not let our guard down, if we all join forces and collaborate from our respective responsibilities. We will recover the normality of our coexistence, life on our streets, in our towns and cities; the economy, the jobs, our companies, our shops, our workshops … Spain will recover its pulse, its vitality, its strength.

Over the years we have been through very difficult, very serious situations; but, like the previous ones, we will also overcome this one. Because Spain is a great country; a great people that does not give up in the face of difficulties. This virus will not defeat us. Unlike. It will make us stronger as a society; a more committed, more caring, more united society. A society standing in the face of any adversity.

Thank you all, cheer up and go ahead.

Sweden

In Sweden, the Royal Family’s Representation Dinner in March was postponed and Crown Princess Victoria’s Name Day celebrations were cancelled. In addition, King Carl XVI Gustaf hosted a special meeting at the Royal palace to address the situation and declared:

It is in our ability to take responsibility jointly as our strength is shown. Every time this happens, every time we choose to show consideration and empathy, we help to maintain the best of Sweden – for the good of Sweden. ”

King Carl XVI Gustaf gave a speech:

The week leading up to Easter is commonly called Holy Week. Today, Palm Sunday, marks the beginning of this solemn week. And in many places the mood is more solemn than ever. COVID-19 has Sweden and the world in its grip. Streets and squares are empty and quiet. The pandemic has dealt a major blow to our businesses, workers and the Swedish economy – to Swedish society as a whole. At the same time, in other parts of our society, the week ahead will be all but quiet. Civic mobilisation is taking place.

I am thinking in particular of the health care sector. There, employees and volunteers are now working – together – to save as many lives as they can. This is a huge task. It requires courage. And it will require endurance. To all of you involved in this vital work, I offer my heartfelt thanks. Let us turn our thoughts to everyone who is working to ensure that the rest of Sweden continues to function – despite the constraints of the situation and despite the risks to their own health. And to those of You making sure that older people receive the care they need, that we can buy food, that public transport continues to operate, and everything else we so easily take for granted – my warmest thanks to You all.

As I mentioned, Holy Week leads us to Easter. For me, and for many people in our country, this is an important celebration and one we look forward to. It is a time when we are keen to travel and perhaps spend time with family and friends. Many go to church. But, this Easter, some of this will not be possible. We have to accept this. We have to rethink, prepare ourselves for staying home. We might feel sad about this. But there will be more Easter holidays. After all, for most us, this will require relatively minor sacrifices – especially if we compare this to falling seriously ill or losing a friend or member of our family. Today, I am thinking especially of all the children in our country who are now at risk of losing grandparents. Of missing out on the security and wisdom they can offer. For their sake, we must act responsibly and selflessly. Everyone in our country has this obligation. Each and every one of us.

There is still a great deal of uncertainty. But one thing is certain: we will remember these times and look back on them. Did I think about other people? Or did I put myself first? We will have to live with the choices we make today, for a long time to come. They will impact many. Easter will soon be here. And whether or not we celebrate it, I believe that we can embrace its message: The journey is long and arduous. But in the end, light triumphs over darkness, and we will be able to feel hope again.

In a few weeks’ time, I will be 74. That’s quite an age. But this also means that I have experienced many of the crises that our country has endured. I have seen how crises help us to re-evaluate, to distinguish between important and unimportant. How fear turns into an understanding of the seriousness of the problem and how it can be solved. And one thing I have learned is this: however deep or protracted a crisis becomes, it will ultimately come to an end. And when this one does, we will all benefit from the consideration and strength that the Swedish people are now demonstrating. This strength will be an asset to our country – in the future that we are longing for.

It remains for me now to wish You and everyone in Sweden an enjoyable Easter – in spite of everything. And though it might be hard, remember: You are not alone.

United Kingdom

In Britain, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh started their Easter Court at Windsor Castle a week earlier than planned, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s visits to Bosnia & Herzegovina, Cyprus and Jordan have been postponed, and many (but not all) royal engagements have been cancelled. The Duke of Cambridge released a speech for the National Emergency Trust, which has launched an appeal to raise funds to help local charities support individuals suffering hardship as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also released a Statement. The Queen’s 2020 Garden Parties have been cancelled, along with the Maundy Service at St George’s Chapel, The General Assembly for the Church of Scotland (for which the Duke of Cambridge was to have been Lord High Commissioner), the Royal Windsor Horse Show, and Princess Beatrice’s Wedding Reception. Investitures are postponed, as is the Japanese State Visit and the Invictus Games, while the VE-Day 75th anniversary commemorations are to be moved from May to 15-16 August. Further announcements on Trooping the Colour, Garter Day, and Royal Ascot will be made in due course.

UPDATE: The Queen has released a statement:

As Philip and I arrive at Windsor today, we know that many individuals and families across the United Kingdom, and around the world, are entering a period of great concern and uncertainty.

We are all being advised to change our normal routines and regular patterns of life for the greater good of the communities we live in and, in particular, to protect the most vulnerable within them.

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.

We are enormously thankful for the expertise and commitment of our scientists, medical practitioners and emergency and public services; but now more than any time in our recent past, we all have a vitally important part to play as individuals – today and in the coming days, weeks and months.

Many of us will need to find new ways of staying in touch with each other and making sure that loved ones are safe. I am certain we are up to that challenge. You can be assured that my family and I stand ready to play our part.

ELIZABETH R

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the London Ambulance Centre in Croydon to meet staff who have been taking NHS 111 calls from the public, and thank them for the vital work they are doing.

UPDATE: The Prince of Wales has tested positive for the coronavirus. The Prince and Duchess are self isolating at Balmoral Castle. Clarence house said

He has been displaying mild symptoms but otherwise remains in good health and has been working from home throughout the last few days as usual. The Duchess of Cornwall has also been tested but does not have the virus. In accordance with Government and medical advice, the Prince and the Duchess are now self-isolating at home in Scotland. The tests were carried out by the NHS in Aberdeenshire where they met the criteria required for testing. 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.”

Other countries

Archduke Karl von Habsburg, the Head of the House of Habsburg, was the first royal to be infected by the virus and more recently, it was announced that Prince Antonio, Prince Francisco, and Prince Alberto of Orleans-Braganza have all tested positive for COVID-19 and are undergoing treatment in Brazil. In Eswatini, the King’s birthday celebrations have been cancelled and the funds will now be used to fight the virus.

We urge you all to follow precautionary measures and hope you are all safe! We have a couple of exciting announcements coming up in the next few days, and we hope to bring some joy in this difficult time!

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