Prince Charles could not have passed on the novel coronavirus to the Queen, palace officials say.
Medical experts have told the royal household the earliest the 71-year-old heir to the British throne could have been contagious is March 13. The Prince of Wales saw his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, just a day earlier on March 12, when he conducted an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
If so, that will be a huge relief to staff keen to protect the monarch, 92, and her husband Prince Philip, 98. Charle’s wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has tested negative for COVID-19. They are both isolating separately in Scotland, meaning the next in line to the throne will face a battle for his health without her by his side.
Penny Junor, Camilla’s biographer, told Newsweek: “Obviously the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are the most vulnerable of them.
“If Charles was not infectious the last time he saw her thank God for that. That would have been too ghastly for the heir to have infected the monarch.”
Charles is understood to have spoken to his mother and both his sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, since his diagnosis.
“I would think Camilla will be very worried. Everyone in the country is anxious to a greater or lesser degree,” Junor said.
“We don’t know how vulnerable we are until it strikes,” she added.
Royalists across Britain were today hoping his symptoms would remain mild. However, if his condition does worsen, questions may be asked about why the Prince was allowed to continue working for so long.
Charles fulfilled engagements even after coronavirus swept through Italy, claiming 133 deaths in a 24 hour period on March 8, the Mediterranean country’s first three figure daily rise. Two days later, at a Water Aid summit in London, he sat opposite Prince Albert of Monaco, who later tested positive for COVID-19.
Charles’ spokesperson at Clarence House said it is not possible to say for certain how the heir to the throne contracted the disease since he has done so many engagements in recent weeks. A palace source confirmed the royal followed the U.K. government’s advice, which did not require blanket self isolation for people without symptoms at the time. They indicated the royals were not given specific guidance from the government on when to cancel official engagements.
Junor said: “We’ve been in the hands of the government and the government had not told the over 70s to self isolate at that point.
“The Royal Family try not to wrap themselves in cotton wool. The Queen, when bombs were falling on London during the Second World War, refused to leave.
“It’s that kind of spirit that they didn’t want to go and cocoon themselves in wonderful, big palaces when people were having to still go to work because they weren’t being told not to.
“There’s a spirit of service really. It’s showing they care and standing shoulder to shoulder with people who haven’t got lovely safe palaces to retreat to.”
The following day Charles performed a public elbow bump rather than a handshake as he arrived at the Prince’s Trust awards in London.
He then saw The Queen on the morning of March 12.
World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
- Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
- Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.
- If you feel unwell (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and call local health authorities in advance.
- Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.
- Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
- Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
- Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
- Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
- Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of mask.
- Do not reuse single-use masks.