Fears for Queen’s health after contact with Charles, who has caught Covid

The monarch is not displaying any symptoms but Buckingham Palace has refused to say whether she has tested negative or positive.

10 February 2022

Concern for the Queen’s health has mounted after she was in direct contact with the Prince of Wales, who has tested positive for Covid.

The Queen is not displaying any symptoms, but Buckingham Palace refused to confirm whether she had tested positive or negative, citing medical privacy.

The 95-year-old is believed to have spent time with Charles on Tuesday when her eldest son was carrying out an investiture on her behalf at her Windsor Castle home.

Investitures at Windsor Castle
Charles at the investiture on Tuesday (Jonathan Brady/PA)

It is the second time the heir to the throne has contracted the virus, first doing so in March 2020 when he had mild symptoms and lost his sense of smell and taste.

The Duchess of Cornwall, who has tested negative, revealed during solo engagements on Thursday that Charles, who is self-isolating, is finding the situation “a bit tiresome”.

A Palace source said the situation will continue to be monitored but a running commentary would not be provided on the Queen’s health.

People who develop coronavirus symptoms are asked to notify those they have been in contact with in the previous 48 hours.

The prince, 73, took a routine test and is not thought to be showing serious symptoms.

He usually greets his mother in public with both a kiss on the hand and a kiss on the cheek.

The Queen is understood to be fully vaccinated so will not need to self-isolate unless she tests positive.

But she will be advised to take a rapid lateral flow test each day for seven days.

Royal physicians will keep a close eye on the nation’s longest reigning monarch – who reached her historic Platinum Jubilee four days ago – given recent health concerns.

She cancelled a run of engagements in the autumn, and was put on doctors’ orders to rest in October and advised to only carry out light duties after a night in hospital undergoing preliminary tests.

The Queen was out and about on public duties on Saturday, the eve of the jubilee, meeting charity workers at Sandringham House – her first major public appearance in more than three months.

Platinum Jubilee
The Queen at Sandringham House on Saturday (Joe Giddens/PA)

Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, said: “Given the fact that the Queen saw her son and heir less than 48 hours before he was confirmed to have Covid for a second time, there is inevitably a huge level of concern for the monarch, given her age above everything else.

“Clearly, a very close eye will be kept on Her Majesty in the coming days to see that nothing is amiss.”

The Queen used her jubilee milestone to endorse Camilla to be one day known as Queen Consort, and called on the public to back her and Charles when he becomes king.

Downing Street said Prime Minister Boris Johnson wished the prince a “speedy recovery”.

On a solo visit to the Thames Valley Partnership in Buckinghamshire, Camilla said she was lucky not to be positive herself.

Camilla during her visit to the Thames Valley Partnership
Camilla during her visit to the Thames Valley Partnership (Matt Dunham/PA)

Speaking to Willie Hartley Russell, high sheriff for Berkshire, during the visit on Thursday, she said: “He’s diagnosed now. Luckily (she’s negative). I’ve taken it so many times.”

Mr Hartley Russell said: “It gets a bit pointless, doesn’t it?” and Camilla agreed.

Speaking to the PA news agency afterwards, he added: “She said, ‘Yes, unfortunately he had tested positive again. I said he must be building up lots of antibodies.

“She said something like he’s finding it a bit tiresome to have got it again, but she said it in a light-hearted way.”

The triple-vaccinated prince was said to be “deeply disappointed” to have to pull out of engagements in Winchester after his positive test on Thursday.

Charles was in close contact with Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Home Secretary Priti Patel, former Liverpool footballer Ian Rush and scores of others when he joined Camilla at a British Asian Trust reception on Wednesday evening.

Charles and Camilla with guests including Priti Patel and Rishi Sunak
Charles and Camilla with guests including Priti Patel and Rishi Sunak on Wednesday evening (Tristan Fewings/PA)

He will now need to self-isolate under current rules for 10 full days, but he could be free after five days if he tests negative on day five and day six.

During his last bout of Covid, the prince remained busy, working from his desk.

Clarence House declined to specify whether he isolate from Camilla, but said he would be following all Government guidelines.

Covid reinfections – where someone tests positive for the virus more than 90 days after a previous positive result – currently represent around 10% of daily cases in England.

Of the 14.8 million infection episodes in England since the start of the pandemic, some 588,114 (4%) are likely to have been reinfections.

The announcement of the prince’s positive test was made just after midday, around 12 minutes before he was due to arrive in Winchester on a visit to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Aides were only informed a few moments before.

More than 1,000 people had gathered behind barriers in the city’s Jewry Street, waiting to see the prince unveil a new statue of Licoricia of Winchester, a prominent Jewish moneylender who was murdered in 1277 during a period of antisemitism in the reign of Edward I which culminated in the expulsion of Jews from England in 1290.

The Queen’s representative in Hampshire, Lord Lieutenant Nigel Atkinson, announced the news to the crowd, who groaned with disappointment.

He read out a message from Charles, which said: “Ladies and gentlemen, I am so sorry that I cannot be with you today. I am desperately disappointed as I was so looking forward to marking this historic occasion with you.

“I hope very much that I will be able to visit at a future time. But for today please accept my most heartfelt apologies and my very best wishes as you mark this memorable occasion for Winchester.”

It was left to the Lord Lieutenant, with the aid of some local schoolchildren, to unveil the statue of Licoricia, which has a now historically incorrect plaque at its base saying it was unveiled by the Prince of Wales.

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