Prince Charles Shares Message of Hope on Social Media After COVID-19 Recovery
Prince Charles took to social media on Wednesday to confirm his recovery and share an uplifting message of hope for those affected by the Coronavirus. Photo: Karwal Tang/WireImage
Prince Charles shared a message of hope for those affected by the novel coronavirus and praised the efforts of health-care workers on the frontlines in a video message confirming his recovery from the virus on Wednesday.
In the video post shared on the Clarence House Instagram and Twitter, the Prince of Wales said he was “on the other side of the illness” and still following social distancing and general isolation protocol.
He said he deeply empathizes with those whose lives have been affected by the spread of the virus.
“As we are all learning, this is a strange, frustrating and often distressing experience when the presence of family and friends is no longer possible and the normal structures of life are suddenly removed.
“At such an unprecedented and anxious time in all our lives, my wife and I are thinking particularly of all those who have lost their loved ones in such very difficult and abnormal circumstances and of those having to endure sickness, isolation and loneliness,” he said.
Watch his full video post below
Charles also paid tribute to doctors, nurses and other staff in the National Health Service, whom he said were under enormous strain and risk, adding that the nation was proud of their “utter selfless devotion to duty.”
The 71-year-old prince also made sure to mention his fellow seniors “who are now experiencing great difficulty.”
Concluding his message, the future King stressed the importance of hope and faith during this crisis.
“As a nation, we are faced by a profoundly challenging situation, which we are only too aware threatens the livelihoods, businesses and welfare of millions of our fellow citizens,” Charles said. “None of us can say when this will end, but end it will. Until it does, let us try and live with hope and, with faith in ourselves and each other, look forward to better times to come.”
Clarence House revealed Charles’s COVID-19 diagnosis on March 25, less than two weeks after he last saw his mother, 93-year-old Queen Elizabeth II. Buckingham Palace says she remains in good health at Windsor Castle.
The Duchess of Cornwall, who tested negative, is still self-isolating in accordance with government and medical orders.
Charles was the first member of the British Royal Family to be infected by COVID-19 and the third member of a European royal family to test positive after Karl von Habsburg, 59, the ancestral archduke of Austria, who confirmed he had the novel coronavirus on March 17, and 62-year-old Prince Albert II of Monaco, who confirmed his diagnosis on March 19.
Prince Albert of Monaco also recovered from the coronavirus this week, and on April 1 he was seen for the first time since his diagnosis.
Prince Charles and Prince Albert both attended a March 10 WaterAid charity event in London, but it’s impossible to say where the Prince of Wales, 71, was infected, since the heir to the throne meets so many people as the most senior member of the Royal Family and the U.K. was late to announce a lockdown.
“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,” read a statement issued by Clarence House.
Charles last saw the Queen on March 12, before he delivered a speech in London at a British Red Cross fundraiser for the Australian bush fires.
Buckingham Palace confirmed Prince Philip, 98, was not present at that meeting, and that the Queen was feeling well and “following all the appropriate advice with regard to her welfare.” She left London for Windsor Castle on March 19, after cancelling several engagements and has not been out in public since. The Duke of Edinburgh left Sandringham in Norfolk the same day to meet her there.
The Prince of Wales was showing mild symptoms of COVID-19 on Sunday, March 22, when he and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, 72, arrived at Birkhall, their cottage on the grounds of Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Charles was tested by the National Health Service in Aberdeenshire on Monday, and his results came back positive on Tuesday, while Camilla tested negative.
Before the future King’s diagnosis, the Royal Family had been taking social distancing measures, from the Queen wearing gloves for investitures to Prince Charles deploying namaste prayer hands in place of handshakes. On March 18, the Queen went ahead with a private audience with new and old commanding officers of the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace and, although her hands were bare, the monarch and the two men stood a few feet apart when the pictures were snapped.
Every year, the Queen spends about a month at Windsor Castle in March and April in what is known as Easter Court, where she often celebrates her birthday. On April 21, she will turn 94.
In the past, it has included “dine and sleep” events for celebrities such as Bond actor Daniel Craig and his wife, actress Rachel Weisz, as well as Easter egg hunts. Parts of the castle and its grounds are usually open to the public.
Buckingham Palace cancelled the Queen’s March 19 visit to the northwestern county of Cheshire and a March 26 visit to the London borough of Camden, along with a pre-Easter service called Maundy Thursday scheduled for April 9 at St. George’s Chapel, a 14th-century Gothic chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle that is open to the public. Last year on her birthday, the Queen attended an Easter Matins service at St. George’s with her children and grandchildren, where the crowd outside serenaded her with “Happy Birthday.”
The Queen left for Windsor Castle a week earlier than scheduled and will stay “beyond the Easter period” but did not postpone individual audiences with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Bishop of Hereford.
“In consultation with the Medical Household and Government, a number of public events with large numbers of people due to have been attended by The Queen and other Members of the Royal Family in the coming months will be cancelled or postponed,” the statement read.
Johnson was criticized for his initial “herd immunity” approach to the pandemic, which has now infected 8,077 and killed 422. The thinking was if the U.K. imposed drastic social isolation measures too far ahead of the peak of infections, people would get tired of staying in and start going out, ramping up COVID-19 transmissions and overwhelming the National Health Service. So schools were open, travel was allowed and only those over 70 and people with flu-like symptoms were advised to stay home. With the virus allowed to spread, the population of 66 million would develop immunity to the coronavirus, and it would have no one else to infect, so it was thought. That shifted on March 16, when Johnson abandoned the approach and said “more drastic” measures were needed, advising people to work from home, avoid unnecessary travel and practise social distancing. All schools closed March 20 after 676 people tested positive in 24 hours.
Johnson announced new sweeping restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, including directives for all U.K. citizens to stay home and only venture out for exercise once a day or to shop for groceries or medical supplies. All non-essential businesses were shuttered, and Johnson said police would enforce the rules by handing out fines and breaking up any gatherings.
The Royal Family heeded Johnson’s previous advice for those over 70 to self-isolate no matter how they are feeling or who they have had contact with.
Charles and Camilla cancelled a tour of Cypress, Jordan, Serbia and Herzegovina, which included a stop at a memorial in Sbrenica where Charles was to meet survivors of the 1995 genocide. The tour, scheduled to begin March 19, would have been the first visit to Cypress by a Royal since the Queen was there in 1993.
There will be no garden parties at Buckingham Palace in May, and investitures, where citizens are awarded medals and honours like knighthoods and the Order of the British Empire, are on hold. Princess Beatrice has cancelled her wedding reception at the Buckingham Palace Gardens, and she and fiancé, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, are “reviewing their arrangements for 29th May,”according to a palace statement.
It may be too little, too late for everyone. As with all countries in the early stages of the pandemic, scientists believe the virus was circulating long before tests started to identify COVID-19 cases.
The first two European royals were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus as fears mounted in the EU, which the World Health Organization declared the epicentre of the pandemic on March 13. Austrian Archduke Von Habsburg called in to a television show on March 17 to say he had tested positive and was in quarantine at home, where he was “completely alone,” and a friend was leaving groceries at his doorstep.
“It’s annoying, but I’m fine. It’s not the black plague,” he told OE24, adding that he has mild symptoms of a cough, low fever and headache. “I thought it was the usual flu. When a friend called me that he had a positive test at a congress in Switzerland, I was also tested.”
The archduke, a former politician who represented Austria at the European Parliament, was at an event in Switzerland 10 days before that many Italians attended. After a friend was diagnosed, he called a hotline, and the Red Cross came to his door and took a sample. Once he tested positive for COVID-19, the police arrived to put a quarantine notice on his door. He has to have two tests with negative results before the quarantine can be lifted. “Then I am free,” he said.
Then Prince Albert II of Monaco was the first head of state to be diagnosed with the novel coronavirus after he tested positive on March 18. The prince, who is father to twin five-year-olds, is working from private apartments in the palace, according to People magazine.
London is starting to see troubling signs that it is headed for a spike. The city of almost nine million people has been hit hardest by the novel coronavirus, with almost 2,500 cases and 27 deaths to date.
PM’s Wife Tests Positive
Although it is uncertain exactly where or when people are getting COVID-19 in the U.K., we do know that Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister’s 43-year-old wife, tested positive on her return to Canada on March 13. But when she touched down in London with her daughter Ella-Grace, 9, and mother-in-law, Margaret Trudeau, 71, in early March, there were no travel restrictions and fewer than 50 U.K. cases. By the time she appeared on stage March 4 at a WE Day celebration at Wembley Arena, there were 114. That’s where all three Trudeau family members were photographed with actor Idris Elba and Formula One racecar driver Lewis Hamilton.
When Hamilton went to Silverstone March 6 to open a new British car racing museum with Prince Harry, there were 206 cases, and the risk of coronavirus was still reportedly low. As he left the Silverstone museum, Hamilton shook Harry’s hand and gave him a parting hug.
And when Grégoire Trudeau went to Canada House on March 5 for an International Women’s Day event, there were just 321 cases in the U.K. She was a guest of Canadian High Commissioner Janice Charette, who was photographed with Grégoire Trudeau.
Happy #IWD2020 from all of us at #CanadaHouse – we had an amazing celebration this week with some great surprise guests. Special thanks to all our speakers, to @ComeFromAwayUK and to Sophie Gregoire Trudeau for making it one to remember. #Inspired #IfYouCanSeeItYouCanBeIt pic.twitter.com/sSML8A84sz
— Janice Charette (@JaniceCharette) March 8, 2020
The next day Charette, as a representative of one of 52 Commonwealth countries, went to the Queen’s Commonwealth service at Westminster Abbey service along with the Royal Family and 2,000 people. Commonwealth Day is very near and dear to the Queen’s heart, as she made a pledge on her 21st birthday in 1947 – six years before she was crowned – to devote her life “whether it be long or short” to “your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”
Since it was the Sussexs’ last official engagement as working senior royals, all lenses were trained on Harry and Meghan as reporters and commentators looked for any sign of a rift or even a slight air of frostiness between them and the rest of the royal brood, particularly Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge. The royals did, it must be noted, all walk into Westminster Abbey separately and in reverse order, from the Queen and Prince Philip on down.
More London Cases
After Grégoire Trudeau arrived back in Canada, she was not feeling well. On March 13, the PMO announced she had tested positive and was feeling “mild symptoms.” The prime minister went into self-isolation and is running the country from a desk in an office at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa and giving press conferences at a podium outside, set well away from reporters. Back in London, WE noted in a statement the Canadian prime minister’s wife had visited a number of places in the city on her trip but, “out of an abundance of caution,” it was “reaching out to all individuals that had contact with her.” Staff were asked to work from home, and the youth organization decided to cancel its spring U.S. WE Day tour.
On the same day, Charette announced on Twitter that Grégoire Trudeau had tested positive for COVID-19. Canada House would be contacting anyone who had been at the March 5 event, and she would be self-isolating and working from home “as a cautionary measure.” On Tuesday, Charette said Canada House, which is located on the usually bustling Trafalgar Square, was operating with “very reduced on-site presence,” and today it closed its Canada Gallery to the public.
On March 16, Elba announced on social media that he had COVID-19. “I got tested because I realized that I had been exposed to someone who had also tested positive. I found out last Friday.”
As for Hamilton, he has not mentioned being tested but posted a video on hand-washing on his Instagram account on Monday, saying: “The coronavirus is very, very serious, and it’s very important that we all work together to help reduce the spread of this virus.”
Meanwhile, Harry and Meghan are back in Victoria, which has been home base since they landed there before the Christmas holidays with baby Archie. On a post on their @sussexroyal Instagram account, the couple assured their 11.2 million followers that they will be “sharing information and resources to help all of us navigate the uncertainty” and would post “accurate information and facts from trusted experts,” which included advice yesterday from the WHO.
A day after the U.K.’s Invictus Games team suspended training camp, the board of Harry’s favourite cause, which gives injured military personal a sense of purpose by encouraging athletic prowess, decided to postpone the 2020 games scheduled for May 9 to 16 in The Hague, Netherlands.
“With only 50 days to go before the event, we are making the right decision to protect everyone involved,” The Hague’s Invictus Games CEO Conny Wenting said in a statement. “We are still trying to find the best possible solution for next year amidst the busy landscape of other events that are currently also trying to move.”
And on Wednesday, Prince William posted a video on the @kensingtonroyal Instagram account in support of a fundraising effort by the National Emergencies Trust to help local charities and individuals who are struggling to survive during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I said at its launch last year that I dreaded the day it would be needed,” a solemn prince said in the video message. “Sadly, with the outbreak of COVID-19, that day has come faster than any of us would have hoped.”
Buckingham Palace said “further announcements” are coming regarding Trooping the Colour, the 75th anniversary of VE Day and a state visit from the Emperor and Empress of Japan, who were supposed to stay at Windsor Castle with the Queen.
As the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak moves from China to Europe, and Italy and Spain are overrun with cases, the U.K. is bracing for harder days to come.
Only time will tell if the country’s – and Buckingham Palace’s – measures to mitigate the risk are successful. As the pandemic spreads, one thing is clear: it knows no geographic boundaries and cuts across race, class and socio-economic strata. The royals may be even more exposed given their public outings and large numbers of staff catering to their every need. It never hurts to have palaces and hectares of estate grounds to retreat to and practise social isolation as the U.K. prepares to weather the storm known as COVID-19.