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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Rosaleen Fenton

Prince Edward praised after explaining why he didn't shake hands with mourners

The Earl of Wessex apologised as he met well-wishers outside Buckingham Palace this afternoon - as he explained he was trying not to shake hands in order to meet more people. Edward and Sophie were greeted with cheers from the crowd as they emerged from the palace on Saturday afternoon.

The Countess of Wessex lagged behind her husband as she shook hands with mourners outside the palace and accepted several bunches of flowers. The Queen’s youngest son could be heard explaining to a well-wisher that he was simply trying to ensure he didn't fall behind as he attempted to speak to as many people as possible.

The Countess of Wessex during a walkabout (PA)
The Countess of Wessex took several bouquets of flowers (PA)

As he quizzed the crowd on where they they had travelled from, he politely waved as he walked past the mourners. He later shook a mourners hand, before explaining: "I've been trying to avoid it, only if I do it once, then I get everybody doing it.'

Edward and Sophie were greeted with cheers from the crowd as they emerged from the palace on Saturday afternoon.

The Queen’s youngest son asked many of the crowd members if they were planning to make their way to Green Park to lay flowers, where thousands of bunches has been left.

Meanwhile, his wife was given bouquets and a stuffed toy as she shook hands with those gathered.

The Earl of Wessex has told mourners the Queen would "appreciate” the number of people paying their respects.

Prince Edward explained why he wasn't shaking hands (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Well-wishers could be heard telling Edward and Sophie "sorry for your loss” outside Buckingham Palace.

The Queen’s youngest son told those in the crowd: "I know that my mother would really appreciate this fantastic support”.

Fans praised his decision to not shake hands on social media, with one writing: 'Edward is wise. Saw Charles shake hands this morning & thought he’s exhausted & his resistance is low. The public contact is nice, but I hope he’s healthy for the funeral.'

Another commented: '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 added: 'Geez- Edward is out there greeting people, being friendly and thanking them for being there. Why isn’t that enough? 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.'

You can now buy Friday's historic Daily Mirror commemorating the death of the Queen here:

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