Prince William Made Jokes About the Coronavirus and Then Got Diagnosed With It

It has recently been revealed that Prince William was diagnosed with the coronavirus (COVID-19) when the pandemic was unraveling back in April. The prince managed to keep his condition from the public for six months. Now that William’s COVID-19 diagnosis is out in the open, unfortunately, a joke he made in March is surfacing again.

Prince William
Prince William | Matt Dunham/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Prince William joked about spreading COVID-19 back in March

On March 3, William visited Dublin’s Guinness Storehouse in Ireland with his wife, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. At the engagement, William decided to joke about spreading the virus.

“I bet everyone’s like, ‘I’ve got coronavirus, I’m dying,’ and you’re like, ‘No, you’ve just got a cough,’” William told another guest in attendance, as reported by TIME.

He also added: “It does seem quite dramatic about coronavirus at the moment. Is it being a little hyped up, do you think, by the media?”

At this time, COVID-19 was only beginning to pick up in the U.K. with about a few dozen confirmed cases. In Ireland, where William was visiting, there was only one confirmed case then.

Prince William contracted COVID-19 and kept his diagnosis a secret

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William seemed to be downplaying the seriousness of COVID-19, but he would later learn that the illness associated with the virus was not always “just a cough.”

As reported by The Sun, William was diagnosed with COVID-19 in April. He also showed some serious symptoms. A source told the outlet, “William was hit pretty hard by the virus – it really knocked him for six. At one stage he was struggling to breathe, so obviously everyone around him was pretty panicked.”

However, William did not want the public to focus on his diagnosis, so he kept his condition a secret. He reportedly shared at an engagement, “There were important things going on and I didn’t want to worry anyone.”

His father, Prince Charles, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson both contracted the coronavirus around the same time William did, and they went public with their diagnosis. Charles had “mild symptoms,” but Johnson was hospitalized. It is believed that if William had shared his diagnosis openly as well, there would have been worries from the public about the state of the monarchy.

Prince William is being criticized for not being open about his diagnosis

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However, not everyone believes William was making the best decision for his country. Some critics have slammed William for keeping such a serious health issue in the dark.

Richard Palmer, a royal correspondent for the Daily Express, noted that this turn of event might create distrust in what William and his advisers say in the future.

“If the future King contracts a potentially fatal virus that the entire world is worried about during a lockdown and he and those around him cover it up, that raises serious questions about whether we can trust anything he or his advisers say,” Palmer tweeted. “If Boris Johnson, Keir Starmer, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, Donald Trump, or Joe Biden had covered up a positive test for Covid-19, many people would not be praising them for ‘not wanting to worry people.’”

Meanwhile, Patricia Treble, a royal contributor for Canada’s Maclean’s Magazine, agreed with Palmer and wrote in a tweet, “Cover ups are always more damaging than the original act. That a serious illness of the 2nd in line to the throne is kept secret until a journalist breaks the story six months later feels like questionable judgment and advice.”