Prince Edward has been branded 'rude' by royal fans after he appeared reluctant to shake hands with well-wishers outside Buckingham Palace.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex surprised hundreds of mourners who had gathered outside the gates of Buckingham Palace on Saturday (September 17) afternoon with an unannounced walkabout. Just hours earlier they had paid tribute to the late Queen, saying the Royal Family had been "overwhelmed by the tide of emotion".
The couple were greeted by cheers as they made their way through the crowd with Sophie stopping to shake the hands of dozens of well-wishers and collected bunches of flowers and stuffed toys.
Read more: Prince Harry appears in military uniform alongside William at vigil for Queen
The Queen's favourite son stopped to speak to mourners and could be heard asking people where they had come from. However, he appeared reluctant to shake the hands of well-wishers — dividing opinion on social media as some branded the Prince 'rude'.
Taking to Twitter, one person said: "I think it’s so rude that Prince Edward won’t shake anyone's hand! Is he worried that if he shakes a commoners hand that he’ll get some horrible disease? So rude!!"
Another added: "Why isn't Prince Edward shaking hands?"
However, Prince Edward could be heard explaining that he was trying to not shake hands with members of the public so he didn't fall behind.
Some have praised his decision, with on person saying: "People are saying it’s rude of Prince Edward to not shake hundreds of hands even though he’s spent half an hour talking and thanking these people, most of whom couldn’t even put their phones down for a moment while he spoke to them. Who’s really rude here?"
Another added: "'He's chosen to meet and chat with people, good for him. – He's clearly not comfortable with shaking hands, it's not compulsory!"
A third said: "Some people just don’t like being touched . Cut the man some slack- he and his family have been going non stop since the Queen died."
On Friday, the Queen’s children – King Charles III, Prince Andrew, Princess Ann and Prince Edward – took part in the vigil on as a steady stream of mourners filed past to pay their final respects.
The royals looked sombre as they took their places at the coffin – four days after they took part in a vigil in St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh.
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