On one side, I feel genuine sympathy for Prince Charles, as I feel genuine sympathy for every person who tests positive for coronavirus. It sucks and I hope everyone is taking it easy and making good choices for their own health and the health of others in their community. But therein lies the rub! Apparently, everything about Charles’ coronavirus diagnosis is quite controversial. For one, he and the other senior royals were keeping up public schedules long past the point where they should have been taking bigger precautions and self-isolating. Two, Charles traveled to one of his many homes – this one in Scotland – to self-isolate, and Scotland is MAD about it and it’s all about a larger problem of the strain on rural hospitals and doctors in the UK. Three, there’s an issue about how Charles and Camilla were both tested very quickly, and whether they “jumped the queue,” testing-wise. Oh, and then there’s the issue of how many people Charles exposed while he was contagious.
[Charles’] diagnosis has newspapers and tabloids tracking Charles’ movements in the 15 days after he saw Prince Albert of Monaco at a lunch on March 10—before Monaco’s head-of-state tested positive for the coronavirus. One of the immediate aims was figuring out whether or not Queen Elizabeth was exposed. Charles last saw his 93-year-old mother on March 12, and the two reportedly hugged sometime before he went to a fundraising dinner. After that dinner, he didn’t attend any public engagements, though he did take private meetings over the next week. A palace source told the Daily Mail that the queen’s doctors think he likely wouldn’t have been contagious at that time.
According to a report in the Times, March 13 is also the day that Charles and Camilla moved from their London apartments in Clarence House to their country home in Gloucestershire, Highgrove. The couple remained at Highgrove for more than a week, where Charles continued to work, communicating with his staff digitally. The newspaper reports that Charles began to feel symptoms related to the coronavirus before he flew from Highgrove to Birkhall on Sunday. “His symptoms were not sufficiently pronounced to reconsider plans to travel. All actions were taken in conjunction with medical advice,” a source told the Times. The report doesn’t include whether or not he flew commercial or privately and what precautions were taken to limit exposure.
This timing of this trip has become an issue for a few Members of Scottish Parliament, who noted that the British government released guidance against traveling to second homes on the same day Charles would have made the trek to Birkhall. “Second-homers and tourists were being urged not to travel to rural areas, including the Highlands, as it simply spread the virus,” Joan McAlpine, a member of the Scottish Nationalist Party, told the Times. “Presumably Charles thought those rules did not apply to him.”
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon sent her best to the prince in his recovery, but noted the seriousness of the travel guidelines.“We want people to behave responsibly, we don’t want people to see the Highlands and islands of our country as places where they can outrun the virus,” she said in a press conference. “Obviously there are places where people have homes in Scotland and people will choose to go to their homes, but we should all be responsible.”
Now Charles is self-isolating in Birkhall, using separate rooms from Camilla, who tested negative for the virus. A number of the couple’s employees are also self-isolating in their own homes. According to the Times, Charles’ doctors have said that his case is unlikely to escalate beyond mild symptoms, and he is not bedridden.
[From Vanity Fair]
Yes, it’s incredibly shady that Charles was feeling some virus symptoms while in Gloucestershire and then he traveled to Scotland anyway and got tested there! WTF. Has anyone explained why Charles thought it necessary to move from Highgrove to Birkhall this past weekend? At that point, most people were already saying “stay where you are, don’t travel.” And Charles was like “that doesn’t apply to me.”
As for the testing… some NHS staffers wondered why Charles was able to “jump the queue” to get tested so quickly, especially since his symptoms were (by the official description) so mild. Health Minister Edward Argar issued a statement saying: “My understanding is that his symptoms, his condition, met that criteria. The Prince of Wales didn’t jump the queue.” I think… that’s probably right? Even if Charles’ symptoms were mild, he’s a man over the age of 70. That’s a factor too. And yes, of course he’s the heir to the throne and I imagine that was also a factor. Still, it’s a bad look when Scottish NHS first responders don’t have such easy access to testing.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red and Backgrid.
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