LONDON — Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, has tested positive for the coronavirus. A palace official said Wednesday, March 25, that the prince has mild symptoms "but otherwise remains in good health."
Doctors have informed the prince that his condition is not likely to escalate into something more serious, the official said.
The 71-year-old son of Queen Elizabeth II is now the most high-profile patient in the realm. Several members of Parliament, sports figures and a prominent British epidemiologist have also been stricken.
"In accordance with government and medical advice, the Prince and the Duchess are now self-isolating in Scotland," read a statement from Clarence House, the prince's official residence in London.
Charles's wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, tested negative.
And the queen?
One of the first questions royal correspondents were asking was: When was the last time Charles saw his 93-year-old mother? And was he infected then?
In a separate statement, Buckingham Palace said: "Her Majesty The Queen remains in good health. The Queen last saw The Prince of Wales briefly on the morning of 12th March and is following all the appropriate advice with regard to her welfare. We will not be commenting further."
According to palace officials, doctors said the earliest the prince would have been infectious was March 13. Since then, he has spent time at Highgrove, his residence in Gloucestershire, and then traveled to Birkhall on March 22. He has not been to any hospital.
The World Health Organization says the incubation period for the novel coronavirus can be as long as 14 days.
The queen, her retinue and her faithful dorgi, Candy, left Buckingham Palace in London a week ago to hunker down at Windsor Castle, west of the capital.
She was joined by her husband, Prince Philip, who traveled by helicopter from his home at Wood Farm at Sandringham estate in Norfolk. The 98-year-old Philip has retired from public life.
In 1593, the first Queen Elizabeth and her royal court moved to Windsor Castle to escape the ravages of plague in London, and so there is long precedent.
The global pandemic led the queen to cancel a planned state visit by the Japanese royals, the recently crowned Japanese emperor and empress.
She has praised the acts of dedication by health-care workers and said now is the time for everyone in Britain to do their part.
Charles and Camila will remain in self-isolation for the next week at Birkhall, his royal residence in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, which the prince inherited from his grandmother.
The Prince of Wales "has been displaying mild symptoms but otherwise remains in good health and has been working from home throughout the last few days as usual," read the Clarence House statement. "The tests were carried out by the NHS in Aberdeenshire where they met the criteria required for testing," Clarence House said.
A palace official said Charles was "in good spirits." He started to show symptoms over the weekend, took a test on Monday and received results on Tuesday. Charles shared the news with his sons, William, who is in Norfolk with his family, and Harry, who is in Canada with his wife, Meghan, and baby, Archie.
Prince Charles has been a man in robust health, who enjoys physical activity, including hedge trimming and horseback riding. He played polo until 2002, when he retired from the sport.
The palace said, "it is not possible to ascertain from whom the Prince caught the virus owing to the high number of engagements he carried out in his public role during recent weeks."
Like many people, Charles previously found it difficult to stop shaking hands, as that is, essentially, his job.
At a red-carpet event earlier this month for the Prince's Trust, a charity he founded that helps vulnerable young people, he laughed at himself trying to not shake hands. He extended and then quickly withdrew his hand to those waiting to greet him - twice.
In a video posted on social media, Charles can be overheard saying "oh sorry" before following up with a "namaste" gesture.
British journalists wondered aloud why Charles and Camilla both were tested -- as he had mild symptoms and she had none -- when ordinary Brits only get tested when they arrive sick at the hospital door.
The BBC's chief correspondent in Scotland, James Cook, tweeted: "The statement that Prince Charles "met the criteria required for testing" by the National Health Service in Aberdeenshire is puzzling. The NHS Scotland website states that, generally, testing for covid-19 will only be carried out "if you have a serious illness that requires admission to hospital."
The statement that Prince Charles “met the criteria required for testing” by the NHS in Aberdeenshire is puzzling. The NHS Scotland website states that, generally, testing for Covid-19 will only be carried out “if you have a serious illness that requires admission to hospital.” pic.twitter.com/KLnu61rya7— James Cook (@BBCJamesCook) March 25, 2020
The talk radio host, Julia Hartley-Brewer, tweeted: "It is immoral and wrong for Prince Charles to have used a coronavirus test when he has only mild symptoms & they are scarce. No one else would be eligible for such a test with mild symptoms. That test could have been better used by a front-line NHS worker or supermarket worker."
It is immoral and wrong for Prince Charles to have used a coronavirus test when he has only mild symptoms & they are scarce. No one else would be eligible for such a test with mild symptoms. That test could have been better used by a frontline NHS worker or supermarket worker. https://t.co/uhaKHPVzEK— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) March 25, 2020
The Washington Post's Jennifer Hassan contributed to this report.
This article was written by Karla Adam and William Booth, reporters for The Washington Post.
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