Prince Charles has tested positive for covid-19, his office has confirmed.
The AP reported that he is currently self-isolating at Birkhall, his home in the Scottish Highlands; Camilla was also tested but her results were negative, and she is currently being monitored. “He has been displaying mild symptoms but otherwise remains in good health and has been working from home throughout the last few days as usual,” Clarence House said in a statement; the Press Association cited a source saying that he wasn’t bedridden and remained in good spirits. It’s not clear where he picked up the virus—it’s highly contagious, and he’s done a lot of public engagements—but at an event on March 10 he sat opposite Prince Albert of Monaco, who has also since tested positive.
The results raise a tricky question for the British government: Why can Charles get tested with “mild” symptoms when NHS staffers can’t? “The tests were carried out by the NHS in Aberdeenshire where they met the criteria required for testing,” Clarence House said. But on Twitter, the BBC’s James Cook pointed out an FAQ from NHS Scotland saying, “Generally, you’ll only be tested for COVID-19 if you have a serious illness that requires admission to hospital.” And yet, NHS staffers on the frontlines of the fight and working with insufficient protective supplies can’t get tested. The United Kingdom was even slower to react to the spread of coronavirus than the US, with the Johnson government initially taking the position that they should just let herd immunity do its thing before realizing that meant leaving an astounding number of people to die. Consequently, they don’t have enough tests, and it’s not clear when more are coming.
The answer, of course, is that he’s the Prince of Wales and therefore he gets to skip the line—which is not likely to be a popular move.
The flip side of the Windsors’ impressive longevity is that both the monarch and her immediate heir are within the high-risk zone. The last time Charles saw his mother in person was March 12; according to the Daily Mail, the most conservative estimates say the earliest he would have been contagious is March 13. That is cutting it very close. “Her Majesty the queen remains in good health,” Buckingham Palace said.
The royals are currently scattered across the country, with the Queen and Philip at Windsor, Charles and Camilla in Scotland, and Will and Kate in Norfolk. It’s a good reminder—when the royals are worried, the rest of should really double up on the Lysol.