Buckingham Palace is denying media reports that Princess Beatrice's wedding to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi has been cancelled, instead saying arrangements are currently up in the air.
Princess Beatrice, granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth and the daughter of embattled Prince Andrew, is meant to marry Mozzi on May 29 at the Chapel Royal at St James' Palace. This was to be followed by a private reception at Buckingham Palace.
The pair, who were engaged in Italy in September after beginning dating in 2018, may not have their fairytale wedding, however.
The potentially deadly coronavirus COVID-19 has now claimed more than 100 lives in the United Kingdom, with about 2600 cases confirmed in the country. This has forced authorities to put restrictions on mass gatherings and discourage people to go to crowded spaces, like bars, restaurants and theatres.
There were reports early on Thursday that Princess Beatrice's wedding had been called off as a result, but Buckingham Palace has told the BBC that it has not been entirely cancelled.
"Princess Beatrice and Mr Mapelli Mozzi are very much looking forward to getting married but are equally aware of the need to avoid undertaking any unnecessary risks in the current circumstances," a statement said.
"In line with government advice for the UK and beyond, the couple are reviewing their arrangements for May 29.
"They are particularly conscious of government advice in relation to both the wellbeing of older family members and large gatherings of people.
"Therefore, the planned reception in the Buckingham Palace Gardens will not take place. The couple will carefully consider government advice before deciding whether a private marriage might take place amongst a small group of family and friends."
The elderly are particularly vulnerable to the illness, so royal officials will be wanting to safeguard the Queen and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who are both aged over 90. Philip, who is 98 years old, has been in and out of hospital over the last few years for health issues. The Queen has been forced to cancel events and stay at her Windsor palace.
The virus, which has now infected more than 200,000 people worldwide, is primarily spread through droplets in the air after someone sneezes or coughs. However, it can also be contracted by touching surfaces where the illness is present, according to the World Health Organization. The length of time the virus stays alive on surfaces is unknown at this stage, but some viruses can remain active for days.