The coronavirus pandemic has affected all manner of things, from the way we work to the way we communicate with one another. Like the rest of us, the royal family have adjusted to life under lockdown. They too have been finding ways to keep in touch with each other, their friends and their charities, as people adhere to social distancing and self-isolation measures.
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At HELLO! we take a look at how the royals, including the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are keeping in contact during the COVID-19 crisis.
Family WhatsApp group
Mike revealed there's a family WhatsApp group
Mike Tindall revealed that he, Zara and her royal cousins keep in touch over the messaging service. In an interview in 2018, he said: "Me, my brother and then a few of Zara's side like her brother Pete and the cousins are on WhatsApp groups. I wouldn’t say we're cutting edge, but it's just easier for some reason on WhatsApp. I'm in about 25,000 groups."
He continued: "You might do it for a get-together and just stay on the group, and occasionally people will post. You're scared to leave because you don’t want to be seen to be rude!"
Former actress Meghan Markle lived in Toronto while filming Suits and travelled regularly for work, before she moved to London to be with Prince Harry. The Duchess of Sussex is known to keep in touch with friends and family using FaceTime. One of her best friends, Janina Gavankar, recently told Entertainment Tonight: "Listen, our entire friendship has been apart, you know. We met 16 years ago, and we've just been apart since, so our friendship lives on FaceTime, no matter where we are."
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William and Kate speak to schoolchildren over a Zoom video call
The royals have been using apps like Zoom to carry out their royal duties and keep in contact with their patronages, but it's also been revealed that they have been using video conferencing to keep in touch with one another too.
In a BBC interview, Prince William said: "We’ve been talking to all the family online. And it’s been a really good way of keeping in touch and seeing each other. As you can imagine, the younger generation are a little bit more tech savvy, but only just, I think we're getting there now. The family are getting a little bit more used to being able to contact each other and pressing the right buttons and not dropping the computer halfway through." Kate added that family video calls can get a little hectic with their youngest son Prince Louis, who keeps wanting to press the red button!
The Duchess of Cornwall has also reportedly been keeping in touch with her own grandchildren via the Houseparty app, as she and Charles isolate in their Scottish home, Birkhall.
Kate regularly writes letters to fans and charities
While modern technology means we can all communicate in real time, we'd love it if handwritten letters came back into fashion. The royals often respond to correspondence from the public in the event of a special occasion, such as a birthday, wedding or royal baby. They also write thank you notes to charities, patronages and organisations. The Duchess of Cambridge sent a letter to one of her patronages, Action on Addiction, thanking the charity for the work that they're doing to find vulnerable families and children during the crisis. Since Prince George and Princess Charlotte are being homeschooled at this time, perhaps their mum will also encourage them to have pen pals.
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The Queen sent her first tweet in 2014
The royal households each have their own public Instagram and Twitter accounts and just like us, they regularly 'like' one another's photos or tag each other in captions. On Mother's Day, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shared four photos of them with their children, one of Prince William with his mother Princess Diana, another of Kate as a baby with her mother, Carole Middleton, and a picture of a card Prince George made. They acknowledged the impact of coronavirus on families by saying: "To mothers new and old and families spending today together and apart – we are thinking of you all at this difficult time."
Princess Eugenie also shared a new photo with her mother, Sarah Ferguson, and husband Jack Brooksbank, adding the caption: "I would like to celebrate all the mothers that can't be with their children today because they are saving lives or keeping their distance to keep them and their children safe. Today and every day we should tell our loved ones how much we love and cherish them."
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