Coronavirus: Officials defend Prince Charles's test for COVID-19

Rebecca Taylor
Royal Correspondent

Officials have defended the decision to test Prince Charles for coronavirus saying he did not “jump the queue”.

Prince Charles was on Wednesday confirmed to have contracted COVID-19, after he was tested in Scotland by NHS Grampian on Monday.

The heir apparent was displaying mild symptoms and he and his wife Camilla are understood to have met the criteria for a test for the deadly disease.

But with NHS workers unable to get routinely tested and others with underlying health conditions missing out, there has been criticism of the decision to test the royal.

Prince Charles was tested despite showing mild symptoms. (Getty Images)

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Asked about why the prince was able to get a test, Britain’s junior health minister, Edward Argar, told Sky News: “My understanding is that his symptoms, his condition, met that criteria.

“The Prince of Wales didn’t jump the queue.”

Clarence House has not issued any information about underlying health conditions which may have played a part in the testing decision.

Prince Charles uses a Namaste gesture while meeting Declan Donnelly and Ant McPartlin during the Prince's Trust Awards 2020 earlier in March. (PA)

The prince is working from his desk, not bedridden and is in good spirits despite the illness. He is conducting his meetings by phone and video conferencing.

The royal has received hundreds of get well messages, some cards but mostly digital messages.

Both Charles and his wife Camilla are in their home in Balmoral, and are self-isolating separately.

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The Duchess of Cornwall, 72, was also tested for the disease but her result came back negative.

Speaking about Charles on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, the country’s chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said: “I have spoken to the team in Grampian who were looking after the individual.

Charles and Camilla were both tested, but Camilla does not have the disease. (Getty Images)

“My understanding is there were very good reasons for that person and his wife to be tested, and obviously I wouldn’t be able to disclose anything else that I know because of patient confidentiality.”

Campaign group Republic, which wants to abolish the monarchy, said on Twitter: “We wish him well, but this is a national crisis in which we all have a stake and in which we all risk losing loved ones.

“Now is the time for equal access to medicine. No exceptions.”

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon on Wednesday said people should be responsible and asked that the Highlands not be used as a place to “outrun” the virus.

Also on Wednesday, MSP Joan McAlpine said she wished 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.

“My nephew, who has serious asthma and a chest infection, was recently refused a test.”

Read more: Prince Charles offers tenants three-month rent deferral amid coronavirus pandemic

Former SNP MP George Kerevan was more critical, branding Charles an “arrogant fool” after he and Camilla travelled from their London home to Scotland at the weekend.

Kerevan tweeted: “This billionaire landowner disobeyed guidance to stay home to avoid spreading virus, went to second home in Scotland, is now infected and has infected others.

“Indy Scotland must be a republic and tax this arrogant fool.”

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