It seems 71-year-old Prince Charles may not have been the only member of Britain's royal family to contract the novel coronavirus. Prince William reportedly had COVID-19 earlier this year but kept his diagnosis quiet so as to not raise alarm bells, The Sun was the first to report.
According to The Sun, Prince William's COVID-19 diagnosis came not long after both U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince Charles, Prince William's father and heir apparent to the British throne, contracted the virus in late March. Prince Charles' COVID-19 diagnosis was revealed on March 26 by Clarance House. A day later, Johnson announced that he too had contracted the highly contagious virus.
BBC News has reported that although Kensington Palace refused to comment officially on reports of Prince William's COVID-19 diagnosis, palace sources did confirm that the Duke of Cambridge had contracted the virus earlier in the year. But if the royal family had divulged Prince Charle's bout with COVID-19, why hide Prince William's?
With two of Britain's top figures ill, The Sun claims Prince William didn't want to risk causing panic by making his own diagnosis public. "There were important things going on and I didn't want to worry anyone," the paper reported Prince William told an unnamed source.
With Queen Elizabeth II having just turned 94 in April, news that both the first and second in line to the throne contracted a potentially deadly virus, possibly leaving 7-year-old Prince Georg first in line, could have sparked serious concern. As CNN has pointed out, a monarch as young as Prince George would need a Regency Council to act on their behalf and it's unclear who'd serve on such a council if necessary.
According to The Sun, Prince William was treated by palace doctors and followed self-isolation guidelines laid out by the government by quarantining with his family at Anmer Hall in Norfolk. But it seems Prince William may have experienced some rather serious symptoms while ill, including difficulty breathing. "William was hit pretty hard by the virus," a source told The Sun. "At one stage he was struggling to breathe, so obviously everyone around him was pretty panicked."
After being treated, however, the source claimed Prince William was determined to carry on with his engagements and responsibilities. According to the BBC, Prince William did 14 virtual engagements during the month of April, appearing either by telephone or video call.
Although perhaps unusual, this wouldn't be the first time the royal family has opted to keep the personal health details of one of its own private. According to People, Queen Elizabeth underwent cataract surgery in 2018 and nothing was made public until a month after she'd successfully recovered. Similarly, CNN has reported that King George withheld the severity of his lung cancer diagnosis from the public for a number of years. Meaning, Prince William is in good company in wanting to keep his medical details under wraps.