Prince Charles Has COVID-19

The 71-year-old heir to the British throne has tested positive and is in self-isolation.


CNN (“Prince Charles tests positive for novel coronavirus“):

Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth II’s son and the heir to the British throne, has tested positive for coronavirus and is now self-isolating in Scotland.

The Prince of Wales is only displaying mild symptoms and is otherwise in good health, Clarence House said in a statement. It is not known how the 71-year-old caught the virus because of his busy schedule of public events in recent weeks.

Buckingham Palace said the Queen remained in “good health.” Last Tuesday, the Palace said the 93-year-old monarch was canceling public events “as a sensible precaution” and she and her husband, 98-year-old Prince Philip, moved to Windsor Castle on Thursday, a week earlier than planned. She is expected to stay there beyond the Easter period.

In a statement issued by the Palace as they moved to Windsor, the Queen said the world was entering “a period of great concern and uncertainty” and warned that many would need to “find new ways of staying in touch with each other and making sure that loved ones are safe.” She said she and her family were ready to play their part.

It strikes me that Charles and the rest of the royals should certainly have stopped public activities well before now but one understands the imperative to do otherwise.

I, of course, hope for his full and speedy recovery but this is yet another reminder of the weirdness of his position: his entire life is defined by what happens after his mother dies. And it would be a cruel irony if, at 71 and well into the at-risk range for mortality from this disease, he predeceased his 93-year-old mother and 98-year-old father.

FILED UNDER: COVID-19, Europe, Health
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Slugger says:

    I wish him a full and speedy recovery. However, I see no reason for our focus on the House of Windsor. To me their purpose in life is to provide fodder for the tabloids in the supermarket check-out lane like the Kardashians except no big booties.

  2. denspark says:

    “It strikes me that Charles and the rest of the royals should certainly have stopped public activities”

    To be fair his last public engagement was the 12th march, nearly a fortnight ago so likely he’s contracted it from someone in a private setting since then.

  3. gVOR08 says:

    Unlike the news that Rand Paul tested positive, this should be greeted with a collective yawn.

  4. gVOR08 says:

    It occurs to me to wonder, if the worst were to happen, would they hold a private coronation, clergy and immediate family only? They’d have an excuse to not invite Boris.

  5. Kathy says:


    However, I see no reason for our focus on the House of Windsor.

    Now and then, they’ve provided valuable moral leadership. See king George VI during WWII, or what Lady Diana Spencer did for AIDS victims by publicly embracing them, literally.

    Royals in other countries have done good, too, from time to time. King Christian X manged to secure the lives of most Danish Jews after Germany invaded Denmark. King Juan Carlos in Spain was instrumental in the democratic transition after the death of Franco.

  6. Gustopher says:

    Someone well known will end up on a ventilator and then dying — just the laws of statistics. And it will shock a lot of people. And change how people treat this. I hope it happens soon, as it will save a lot of lives.

    Prince Charles seems like a mostly good guy, so I hope it is not him. Or Tom Hanks. Or Idris Elba.

    (I’m pulling for Sean Hannity… no known infection, but with his relationship with the president, he would be ideal for changing the government’s tone)

  7. denspark says:


    These days they take months to organise a coronation.
    I suspect in the current circumstances they’d put it on hold and then have it as a big “end of crisis and beginning of a new era” national occasion next summer.

  8. Kit says:

    I never follow the royals, but had a vaguely negative view on Charles for who knows what reason. But I just finished watching The Crown on Netflix not two weeks ago, and in it Charles comes off as an enormously sympathetic figure.

  9. Kingdaddy says:

    Forget the famous people for a moment. I’m used to the press showing the ordinary human face of catastrophes, and I’m just not seeing as much of it during the COVID-19 pandemic as I had expected. It used to drive me crazy when “war coverage” was limited to personal stories of refugees, because there was a much bigger story to tell. (That’s not to diminish the horrific plight of refugees, just to say that there was more to discuss.)

    Now, I’m not seeing much coverage showing the people who are the critical and fatal cases of COVID-19. I know, it’s dangerous to visit the sick wards. But even the accounts of doctors and nurses don’t seem to be as frequent and visible as I might expect, given the press’ reflex to show the people who are suffering during a crisis.

  10. Michael Reynolds says:


    King Christian X managed to secure the lives of most Danish Jews after Germany invaded Denmark.

    Righteous among the nations.

  11. wr says:

    @Gustopher: “Someone well known will end up on a ventilator and then dying — just the laws of statistics. ”

    Terrence McNally died of it yesterday. So did Floyd Cardoz — celebrity chef and winner of Top Chef Masters… at 59.

    Not exactly Rock Hudson yet, but both very important people in their fields.

    Trump won’t notice until someone in his own family dies — and probably not even then, unless it’s Ivanka.

  12. Michael Cain says:

    I read an epidemiologist’s piece this morning that asserted if you stick in higher values for how contagious the virus is, and a higher rate of no- and mild-symptom cases, you can get numbers that look like where we are but we’re nearly to the peak instead of six-to-eight weeks away. They said it was largely a mental exercise to try to explain Germany’s testing results. Back in January my wife and I both got respiratory crud within a couple of days of each other. The docs we saw at Kaiser said then that the crud they were seeing this year was different than what they saw previous years. Part of me is going to be pissed if it turns out it was COVID. I don’t suppose there will ever be an antigen test applied broadly to see how many people are immune.

  13. Mu Yixiao says:

    Hey…. he’s already died and been resurrected at least twice (because he’s a lizard-man from the center of the Earth), so he’ll be fine.

    …. what? That’s what the newspapers next to the checkout said!

  14. JohnSF says:

    No need for a coronation if Prince Charles dies; HM remains Queen, William moves up to heir apparent.
    Investiture as Prince of Wales would follow; but I think (not certain) that the actual status of P.o.W. is automatic and investiture is purely a formality, unlike coronation.
    Investiture can wait until convenient.

  15. JohnSF says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Well, the original does have a star to his name:
    Alpha Canum Venaticorum a.k.a Cor Caroli Regis Martyris

  16. DrDaveT says:


    I think (not certain) that the actual status of P.o.W. is automatic and investiture is purely a formality

    That was not true for Charles himself, but things may have changed since 1960…

  17. denspark says:


    yeah i was working on the premise that ‘worst case’ was HMQ passes on rather than charles pops his clogs.

  18. denspark says:


    yes, my interpretation of ‘worst case’ was HMQ passing away rather than Charles popping his clogs.

  19. JohnSF says:

    I’ve seen differing opinions on this, even from back then (yeah, count my tree rings…) on whether or not Charles was legally Prince of Wales prior to/without investiture, as the ceremony was in abeyance before 1911, but the title was not, confirmed by royal patent instead.


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