Queen shakes hands again after coronavirus ban

Queen Elizabeth shakes hands without gloves at her audience on Wednesday. (Press Association)

The Queen has returned to shaking hands after two days of avoiding contact amid coronavirus fears.

At her audiences in Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, she shook hands with Professor Mark Compton, Lord Prior of the Order of St John, as he was welcomed.

The monarch avoided her traditional greeting when welcoming the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to her residence on Tuesday.

On Monday, no one was allowed to shake hands during the Commonwealth Day service, following protocol set down by Westminster Abbey.

Prince Charles adopted a namaste greeting, while Prince Harry elbow bumped Craig David.

However there wasn’t a complete lack of contact, as the Duchess of Sussex hugged David, and Boris Johnson shook hands with Anthony Joshua, having quickly pulled out of a handshake earlier that afternoon.

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Charles adopted a namaste greeting on Monday. (Getty Images)
Boris Johnson's slip up meant he and Anthony Joshua shook hands. (Getty Images)

The Prime Minister said the guidance on not shaking hands sent a “subliminal cue” about the importance of hygiene.

The Queen also had gloves on for an investiture ceremony on 3 March, and then took them off again for the audiences the day after.

Her Majesty turns 94 next month, and the risk of more severe symptoms from the Covid-19 illness 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.

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Queen Elizabeth with Professor Mark Compton at the palace. (Press Association)
Queen Elizabeth was presented with the Order's first ever Service Medal in Gold, at Buckingham Palace. (Press Association)

The palace has not given comment about the monarch’s use of gloves or avoidance of shaking hands.

However a source previously said she would be following government advice.

The Order of St John, the origins of which date back to a hospice in Jerusalem in 1070, started providing first aid in England in 1877 by setting up St John Ambulance.

It now delivers first aid, healthcare and support services around the world, including at the Queen’s palace garden parties.

The head of state, who is the Sovereign Head of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem, was presented with the Order’s first ever Service Medal in Gold.