This is bad. Very bad.
Yesterday evening (November 1), UK Tabloid The Sun posted a story saying that Prince William had contracted and battled COVID-19 a week or two after his father, Prince Charles, in April of this year.
Apparently he had a pretty bad dose, and at at least one point William “struggled to breathe.” The second in line to the British throne was so sick that he struggled to breathe. This in itself is news. What makes it a scandal is that he and his office hid it from the media and the public for six months. Will’s staff flat-out lied about Will having been positive for COVID. Kensington Palace has said it hid the illness because it didn’t want to alarm people. The question is: is that Will or KP’s call to make?
There are tons of implications to this, let’s talk about them.
The Line of Succession
The fact that both the first and second in line to the throne of the United Kingdom were infected with a potentially fatal virus is MASSIVE news. It leads to so many questions in terms of the line of succession. Let’s get into it. So the line of succession at this moment is:
- Prince Charles, Duke of Cornwall
- Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
- Prince George of Cambridge
- Princess Charlotte of Cambridge
- Prince Louis of Cambridge
- Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex
- Master Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor
This means that, had things gone terribly wrong and Charles and William had both died from COVID-19, Prince Harry would have been the next person over 18 years of age in the line of succession. I’m not 100% sure of the details, but a regent situation, where Harry becomes regent and keeps the monarchy running until Prince George becomes 18 (in 11 years) definitely it must be/have been considered.
If Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles and Prince William had died in quick succession (no pun intended), Prince George would be the next in line for the throne. But he’s 7 years old. So the logical option has to be dragging Harry back from California to perform duties as regent. Was this ever discussed with him? Was he even told that Will was sick? Would Meghan agree to come back if this were the case? This is banana pancakes.
Long Term Effects
Even people who survive COVID-19 have long-lasting impacts on their health. People who have had COVID and recover have been looked at months after they recovered and their hearts look like they have suffered a heart attack. Their lungs are permanently damaged. This is bad for a future king who we hope lives to 100 for the sake of constitutional consistency. It’s also easy to argue that we should know about possible severe physical impairments of someone who will be king in the coming decades.
The Snide Comments
Before COVID-19 really hit the UK and was more of an “Eastern problem”, Will was caught on camera making fun of the virus. At a public event in early March of this year, Will made the following comments:
Speaking to Joe Mooney, an advance paramedic with the National Ambulance Service, William quipped: “I bet everyone’s like ‘I’ve got coronavirus, I’m dying,’ and you’re like ‘no, you’ve just got a cough.'”
He also said, “[The media] does seem quite dramatic about coronavirus at the moment. Is it being a little hyped up, do you think, by the media?”
In another video clip from the event the duke was heard saying: “By the way, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are spreading coronavirus, Sorry. We’re keeping an eye on that, so do tell us if we need to stop.”
This isn’t exactly the sympathetic, caring prince that Kensington Palace paints, is it? I wonder if he will ever apologize for these comments, given the worldwide destruction that COVID-19 has caused in the months since, and now that he’s contracted and suffered from it. It does make him look like a hypocrite to make these comments, get COVID, keep it secret, get “the stuffing knocked out of him”, and then not apologize. Apologizing for these comments now would be an easy PR win for him – it would show contrition and the ability to accept that he was wrong. Don’t know if his staff would ever let him be that vulnerable in public, though. The thing that would endear him to us might be seen as too risky for his communications staff (future kings aren’t supposed to be wrong, let alone admit it).
Public reaction has been mixed. The royal press corps, however, has made its feelings about the situation clear.
Withholding Will’s illness raises questions about Kensington Palace’s credibility. Years of bonds and trust between Will and Kate’s staff and the press has been cracked by this news. Who knows if KP will be able to build back this trust, or if this will spell a shift in support for the future king by the media for the foreseeable future.
Did Harry Know??!
Presumably Harry would have been told about his brother’s COVID diagnosis, right? I feel like Buckingham Palace would have had a duty to tell him that there might be a chance of him moving up the line of succession. Not to mention Will just calling and telling him. If Will didn’t tell Harry that he was sick, the relationship between them may be well and truly broken for good.
Conversely, if Harry knew that his brother had COVID and continued to 1) stay in California (I don’t care if there were lockdowns, he could have gotten special dispensation from the UK government to land in London and skip any quarantine period if he wanted to), 2) not reach out to his sick brother, and 3) not reach out to Buckingham Palace to see if he should be doing anything in terms of duties when both his father and brother were sick with a life-threatening virus, then Harry is stone cold and I don’t know what else to say about it.
Why on Earth would Will let this slip now? Did he think that saying he had COVID would tell the people of the UK to take this second lockdown seriously? Case numbers in the UK are skyrocketing and a strict monthlong lockdown was announced by Boris Johnson on Saturday night, so maybe Will’s PR team thinks this will make him look like one of the people? Or say that even he, the Duke of Cambridge, contracted it, so take precautions seriously?
And why would he do it the day before the US presidential election???????? If you wait six months to tell people, what’s another week? It doesn’t seem like something Will would do given the political timing. So that leaves one option: that it was found out by someone, likely a member of the press, who threatened to leak it. Then Will’s only option was to do a soft leak with quotes from “sources” saying that he was very sick and that people should take this virus seriously. I truly don’t know.
So many implications! So many questions! I can understand why Will’s PR people would want to keep this hush-hush, but I don’t think it was necessarily the right decision. What do you think? Let me know!
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