Queen Elizabeth Reportedly Quits Buckingham Palace Following Coronavirus Fears

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip reportedly left Buckingham Palace and was taken to Windsor Castle on Thursday in response to the coronavirus pandemic in the U.K. Buckingham Palace already announced on Friday that changes will be made to the queen's schedule after discussions with the U.K. government. There have been more than 1,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 21 deaths in the U.K.

Elizabeth, 93, and Philip, 98, were taken to Windsor Castle as a precaution, and plans are being made to take them to Sandringham if the outbreak continues to worsen, sources told The Sun. The queen is in "good health," but many of her staffers are concerned, a royal source said.

"The Palace hosts a constant stream of visitors including politicians and dignitaries from around the world," the source said. "The Queen has met a lot of people there until recently. But she is weeks away from her 94th birthday and advisers believe it is best to get her out of harm’s way. Buckingham Palace is in the middle of London and also has a bigger staff than other estates so is deemed a much more dangerous location. There have been no specific scares or positive tests there yet but no one wants to take any chances."

On Friday, Buckingham Palace said changes were being made to her commitments "as a sensible precaution and for practical reasons in the current circumstances." Her trips to Cheshire and Camden have already been postponed, and other events are being "reviewed" on a case-by-case basis.

The British royal family has already made visible changes in light of the crisis. On Tuesday, Queen Elizabeth did not shake hands with dignitaries during a reception. She did shake hands with Professor Mark Compton during her last Palace appearance on Wednesday though.

Prince Charles also opted to greet guests at the 2020 Prince's Trust Awards on Wednesday with the Namaste greeting instead of handshakes. He continued using the greeting during an investiture ceremony. Charles, 71, and Duchess Camilla, 72, were also scheduled to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus and Jordan next week, but the trip was postponed, reports The Sun.

In the U.K., the death toll almost doubled in 24 hours, jumping from 11 on Friday to 21 on Saturday, the Department of Health and Social Care said. Cases rose from 798 on Friday to 1,140 on Saturday.

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"We have all got to be clear, this is the worst public health crisis for a generation," U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, reports The Guardian. "Some people compare it to seasonal flu. Alas, that is not right. Due to the lack of immunity this disease is more dangerous. It is going to spread further and I must level with you, I must level with the British public: many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time."

Photo credit: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images