Prince Charles forgets he's not supposed to shake hands, says 'namaste' in greeting someone instead

By Heather Cichowski

The spread of the coronavirus has affected royals, celebrities and events. Many are adapting measures in an attempt to ward off the transmission of the virus, such as using different greetings that don't involve shaking hands or physical contact.

But it can sometimes be difficult for people to get out of the habit of greeting someone with a handshake, as Prince Charles understands.

The Prince of Wales stepped out to the Prince’s Trust Awards in London on March 11. When he got out of the car, he automatically extended his hand to Sir Kenneth Olisa, The Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, in greeting.

Charles went in for a handshake. Photo: © Yui Mok - WPA Pool/Getty Images

But Charles quickly realized his error and opted for a "namaste" greeting, in which one bows slightly and puts their hands in a prayer-like gesture, instead!

But he quickly realized his error. Photo: © Yui Mok - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Photographers captured the exchange between the men in which they appear to share a quick laugh over the mishap.

MORE: The 2020 JUNO Awards have been cancelled in light of coronavirus concerns

Prince Charles continues on the red carpet and automatically extended his hand again to another attendee, the chairman of the Prince's Trust John Booth, but quickly reverts back to a namaste greeting.

"It’s just so hard to remember not to," the 71-year-old reportedly said Dame Martina Milburn, the Trust's chief executive, according to HELLO! UK.

Charles and Sir Kenneth Olisa were able to laugh about the situation. Photo: © Yui Mok - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The namaste gesture is one contactless form of greeting that has been adopted by a number of people in light of COVID-19. While on their royal tour of Indonesia, Queen Máxima and King Willem-Alexander used the greeting.

Similarly, Prince Harry offered an "elbow bump" gesture while greeting Craig David at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey. Others are using "air" hand shakes and "air" high fives.

At the time of this writing, there are more than 132,000 coronavirus cases in 123 countries, according to the World Health Organization. The illness has caused nearly 5,000 deaths. Canada currently has 138 cases.

On March 12, it was announced Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's wife, had tested positive for the coronavirus. The Canadian prime minister also decided to self-isolate and work from home as a precaution.

Queen Letizia and King Felipe at the Diplomatic Corps reception at the Royal Palace in Madrid on Feb. 5. Photo: © Legan P. Mace / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Additionally, King Felipe and Queen Letizia received testing on March 12. The statement came just after the monarch's public appearance for the same day was cancelled. The decision to get tested was in response to Letizia's meeting with Spanish Minister of Equality, Irene Montero, who has the coronavirus.

The same day, it was announced that the 2020 JUNO Awards have been officially cancelled due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. The JUNOS, which are an annual event recognizing the best in Canadian music, were set to take place in Saskatoon in a televised ceremony on March 15.

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