The British royal family came together for the annual commemoration of the Commonwealth Day in London on Monday, but they didn't shake hands with each other or the guests at the service.

The no handshaking between the guests protocol was put in place by Westminster Abbey, as a preventive measure against coronavirus, a respiratory disease which has already witnessed five deaths in the United Kingdom, reports Hello!

"Westminster Abbey is acutely aware of the risks posed by the spread of novel coronavirus. In recent weeks we have advised members of our congregation to avoid shaking hands," a spokesperson for the Abbey said in a statement.

Even though Prince William and Duchess Camilla had made awkward jokes about the disease in the past, they along with other members of the family obeyed the protocols set up by the Westminster Abbey. Most of the royals greeted each other and attendees without shaking hands, while Prince Charles was spotted using a "namaste" greeting, the Indian way of greeting people which involves clasping both hands together.

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This afternoon, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended the annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on Commonwealth Day, alongside Her Majesty The Queen and Members of The Royal Family. The Commonwealth is a global network of 54 countries, working in collaboration towards shared economic, environmental, social and democratic goals, and the Service today seeks to highlight the vast community which spans every geographical region, religion and culture, embracing diversity amongst its population of 2.4 billion people, of which 60 percent are under 30 years old. As President and Vice-President of the @Queens_Commonwealth_Trust, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been passionate advocates of the Commonwealth having spent many years working closely with the next generation of Commonwealth leaders. The theme of the Commonwealth for 2020 is ‘Delivering A Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming', placing emphasis on youth, the environment, trade, governance, and ICT (Information and Communications Technology) and innovation. From working to protect the earth's natural resources and preserving the planet for generations to come, to championing fair trade and empowering the youth of today to transform the communities of tomorrow, the Service celebrates the Commonwealth's continued commitment to delivering a peaceful, prosperous and more sustainable future for all. Photo © PA

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Prince Harry, meanwhile, opted for another way to greet the guests, which has also been recommended by health experts to avoid the spread of the virus. In a picture uploaded on the Kensington Palace Instagram account, the Duke of Sussex can be seen bumping elbows with "7 Days" singer Craig David when they met at the end of the service.

William, however, said that it has become quite a task for him to follow the protocol. Talking to Lord Howell, chairman of the council of Commonwealth Societies, the 37-year-old confessed, "It's very odd not shaking hands, I try my best to hold my hands like that," laughing as he clasped his hands together and held them against his waist.

British Royal Family
Senior royals. Photo: AFP / Tolga AKMEN

This comes days after the father-of-three ended up making an embarrassing joke about the communicable virus. Talking to a paramedic during his and Kate's recent royal visit to Ireland, William had said: "I bet everyone's like 'I've got coronavirus, I'm dying', and you're like 'no, you've just got a cough.'"

"By the way, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are spreading coronavirus! Sorry... We're keeping an eye on that, so do tell us if we need to stop," said the Duke of Cambridge, who was reportedly taking advice on the coronavirus threat from Public Health England and the Department of Health at the time.