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Princess Beatrice’s wedding reception cancelled due to coronavirus concerns

Princess Beatrice’s wedding reception cancelled due to COVID-19
WATCH: Princess Beatrice’s wedding reception cancelled due to COVID-19.

The wedding reception for Princess Beatrice of York and her fiancé Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi has been cancelled amid concerns over the new coronavirus pandemic, the BBC has confirmed.

The couple may still hold a small ceremony in May, according to a spokesperson for Buckingham Palace, but they will consider “government advice” before making any decisions.

Queen Elizabeth II planned to host the reception in the gardens at Buckingham Palace. However, all garden parties have been cancelled indefinitely due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

READ MORE: Prince Andrew’s daughter, Princess Beatrice, announces private wedding venue

Beatrice and Mozzi wish to avoid “unnecessary risks,” the spokesperson said.

They’re “particularly conscious” of “the well-being of older family members and large gatherings of people.”

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Princess Beatrice, 31, was originally scheduled to marry the Italian property developer on May 29 at the Chapel Royal at St. James’ Palace.

Critical push for more coronavirus testing in Canada
Critical push for more coronavirus testing in Canada

This isn’t the first time Beatrice’s wedding plans have been delayed.

The couple was engaged in September 2019, but their wedding plans were halted by the media’s renewed interest in the relationship between Beatrice’s father, Prince Andrew, and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Andrew was noticeably absent from Beatrice’s engagement party in December 2019.

Their original wedding plans weren’t announced until February. According to royal historian Carolyn Harris, “the scrutiny surrounding her father” could explain the gap.

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“Certainly, a public appearance by Prince Andrew is going to attract a lot of attention.”

Andrew, Queen Elizabeth’s third child, announced last year that he was withdrawing from his royal duties due to allegations by an American woman named Virginia Roberts Giuffre. Giuffre says she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew multiple times, starting at the age of 17.

Experts answer viewers’ COVID-19 questions, part 3
Experts answer viewers’ COVID-19 questions, part 3

She says she was sex-trafficked by Epstein, who died by suicide in August 2019. She alleges Epstein forced her to have sex with the prince in 2001 at the home of British socialite and friend of the prince Ghislaine Maxwell.

Prince Andrew denies all of the allegations.

A photograph of the prince with his hand around the waist of a teenage Giuffre standing next to Maxwell has been widely circulated.

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The prince told the BBC in 2019 he has questioned the legitimacy of the photo and says he does not recall it being taken.

Prince Andrew stepped down from royal duties in November 2019, just days after he spoke with the BBC about his friendship with Epstein.

“It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein [have] become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organizations and charities that I am proud to support,” the 59-year-old said in a statement.
As of Thursday, the United Kingdom had 2,626 confirmed cases of COVID-19. 103 people in the U.K. have died from the virus.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

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Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

— With files from Global News’ Laura Hensley and the Associated Press

meghan.collie@globalnews.ca