Thousands of vulnerable Britons, including frontline health workers, are being refused tests for Covid-19. But the fact that the heir to the UK throne – and his wife Camilla – get them demonstrates a stark divide. The news that the Prince of Wales has tested positive for Covid-19 proves that coronavirus knows no barriers, physical or social. It doesn’t stop at the gates of Buckingham Palace or spare the next in line to the British throne.
So first Hollywood royalty Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson succumbed to the virus in Australia, having to isolate and follow protocol like any other normal person, then James Bond-hopeful Idris Elba got the diagnosis, followed by Prince Albert of Monaco and a coterie of other celebrities who are normally immune, as it were, to global catastrophes.
But coronavirus is different. It doesn’t care for status or crowns. It can take down royalty as easily as it can take down roofers. Except the former will get a test much sooner than the latter.
Prince Charles, who as a septuagenarian is within the higher risk category, is residing in isolation at Birkhall on the Queen’s Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, having ignored edicts to stay at home, or in his case, homes, in England. He was tested on March 23 after qualifying for an NHS test “due to age and medical condition criteria.” He received his positive results the next day. His wife, Camila, tested negative for the virus and is isolating separately.
They managed to do this in a country where tests are extremely hard to obtain, and people have been turned away from accessing medical assistance unless they are so ill they have to be admitted to hospital. Currently, only around 8,000 tests a day are being performed, and only on the sickest patients in hospital. No one else can get their hands on them – including front-line health workers.
The government has promised to increase these to 25,000 a day, once 3.5 million antibody ‘game changer’ tests that the government has purchased for the NHS arrive, which will tell you if you're immune to the virus, or have had it, but they will take time – weeks, even – and people need them desperately now.
The priority that the royals have been given has caused anger. One Scottish politician, Joan McAlpine, tweeted: “I wish @charles_HRH a speedy recovery. But given that his symptoms are said to be mild, like many I wonder how he was tested when many NHS and social care workers cannot get tested. My nephew, who has serious asthma and a chest infection was recently refused a test.”
There were "very good reasons" to test Prince Charles for coronavirus, Scotland's chief medical officer has insisted.
The heir to the throne is currently in isolation in Aberdeenshire after testing positive for Covid-19.
Questions have been raised over why he was eligible for a test from NHS Grampian while many frontline medical workers have been unable to get them.
Catherine Calderwood said the prince had been tested for "clinical reasons"
Clarence House announced on Wednesday that the Prince of Wales - who is known as the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland - had tested positive for the virus.
A spokesman said the 71-year-old prince had "mild symptoms" but was in good health and spirits, and was working from home from his residence at Birkhall, on the Balmoral estate.
] Clarence House said the couple "met the criteria required for testing", but the NHS Scotland website states that "generally" people are only tested if they have "a serious illness that requires admission to hospital".
SNP MSP Joan McAlpine wished Prince Charles a speedy recovery, but added: "Given that his symptoms are said to be mild, like many I wonder how he was tested when many NHS and social care workers cannot get tested."
It must be hard on the entire royal family to see that Prince William and Prince Harry are no longer as close as they used to be. But according to Page Six, the brother’s feud is especially hard for their father, Prince Charles, to handle.
Long-time royal photographer, Jayne Fincher, told Page Six that Prince Charles became extremely close to his children after their mother, Princess Diana died. And because he is still close to both of his sons, this feud is very hard for him.
“Charles must be broken-hearted,” Fincher said. “because he’s extremely close to those boys. All through that period of grieving, they were close. That must be very devastating for him.”
So far, Prince Charles has not spoken publicly about his sons’ feud, but hopefully, over time, Prince William and Prince Harry can mend their relationship and become just as close as they once were.