The Queen's new defence against coronavirus – antimicrobial gloves

Camilla Tominey
·2-min read
File photo dated 03/03/20 of Queen Elizabeth II wearing gloves as she awards the CBE to Miss Anne Craig, known professionally as actress Wendy Craig, during an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London. The Queen's upcoming visits to Cheshire and Camden have been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, Buckingham Palace has announced. PA Photo. Issue date: Friday March 13, 2020. See PA story ROYAL Queen. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire - Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
File photo dated 03/03/20 of Queen Elizabeth II wearing gloves as she awards the CBE to Miss Anne Craig, known professionally as actress Wendy Craig, during an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London. The Queen's upcoming visits to Cheshire and Camden have been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, Buckingham Palace has announced. PA Photo. Issue date: Friday March 13, 2020. See PA story ROYAL Queen. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire - Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Coronavirus Homepage Bar with counter ..
Coronavirus Homepage Bar with counter ..

A pair of pristine white gloves has long helped to protect the Queen from catching coughs and colds during Royal walkabouts.

Now, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the HM’s official glove maker has taken matters into its own hands by launching a new antimicrobial range.

Cornelia James, which has carried a Royal warrant since 1978 having supplied the Queen, the Queen Mother, the Princess Royal and Princess Diana with gloves, has partnered with a Swiss technological textile firm to make a new pair which breaks down viruses on touch.

The atelier in East Sussex refused to comment on whether it had sent the cotton and merino wool gloves, enhanced with a substance called HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03, to Buckingham Palace. 

A Cornelia James spokesman said: "There is absolutely no effect on the appearance or feel of the gloves but the Viroblock neutralises viruses and microbes, virtually on contact. You won’t pick up viruses and nor will you pass them on."

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II arrives for a ceremony to mark the centenary of the burial of the Unknown Warrior, in Westminster Abbey, London, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. Queen Elizabeth II donned a face mask in public for the first time during the coronavirus pandemic when attending a brief ceremony at Westminster Abbey last week to mark the centenary of the burial of the Unknown Warrior. While the 94-year-old has been seen in public on several occasions over the past few months, she has not worn a face covering.  - Aaron Chown/AP
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II arrives for a ceremony to mark the centenary of the burial of the Unknown Warrior, in Westminster Abbey, London, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. Queen Elizabeth II donned a face mask in public for the first time during the coronavirus pandemic when attending a brief ceremony at Westminster Abbey last week to mark the centenary of the burial of the Unknown Warrior. While the 94-year-old has been seen in public on several occasions over the past few months, she has not worn a face covering. - Aaron Chown/AP

The gloves use a combination of silver and vesicle technology to promote the rapid breakdown of viruses and microbes. Tests found the Viroblock reduced the Sendai virus on fabric by 99.99 per cent within two minutes, and the SARS-CoV-2 virus on fabric by 99.99 per cent within 30 minutes.

Vienna-born Cornelia James first started making gloves for royalty in 1947 when she was asked by dressmaker Norman Hartnell to make the "going-away" gloves for the then Princess Elizabeth to take on her honeymoon, following her impending marriage to Prince Philip.

During the business’s peak in the 1950s, her Brighton factory had 500 workers. 

In a 2012 interview with The Telegraph, she admitted that Princess Diana used her gloves a lot to hide her bitten nails.

She passed away in 1999 and the business is now run by her daughter Genevieve Lawson.