Kate Middleton breaks St Patrick’s Day tradition but coronavirus isn’t to blame

Kate Middleton broke with tradition this St Patrick's Day – but it's not because of the coronavirus.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge typically attend the St Patrick's Day parade with the Irish Guards, during which they chat to soldiers, try some Guinness and meet Domhnall, the Irish wolfhound and mascot.

Kate usually wears green for the occasion, and last year wore a long emerald coat by Alexander McQueen with a Cartier gold shamrock brooch, a matching Lock and Co hat and heels.

Prince William wears his military uniform.

But the parade isn't taking place this year, not because of coronavirus, but because most of the regiments are currently on deployment overseas.

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The change was planned months ahead, and is unrelated to COVID-19, which has caused other royals such as the Queen and Prince Charles to cancel many of their scheduled engagements.

The Queen is leaving Buckingham Palace to hole up in Windsor Castle as the coronavirus outbreak grips Britain.

The Palace has announced she will move to her Berkshire residence a week earlier than planned for the Easter period.

She will also remain at Windsor for the foreseeable future due to the COVID-19 pandemic that is sweeping the nation.

"As a sensible precaution and for practical reasons in the current circumstances, a number of changes are being made to The Queen's diary," Buckingham Palace said in a statement.

Earlier in the Duke and Duchess' Irish tour, Prince William joked about the virus and questioned whether coverage of it was "being a little hyped up".

"I bet everyone's like, 'I've got coronavirus, I'm dying', and you're like 'no, you've just got a cough'," he said to Joe Mooney, an advance paramedic with the National Ambulance Service.

That conversation took place two weeks ago, before coronavirus was labelled a pandemic by the World Health Organisation and before the UK government put "extreme" measures into place to stop its spread.

There are 62 confirmed cases of the virus in Northern Ireland.

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