Prince William is facing backlash after reports emerged Sunday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus in April and kept his diagnosis secret.
The Sun, which first reported the news, said that the Duke of Cambridge was “hit pretty hard by the virus” and at times “was struggling to breathe, so obviously everyone around him was pretty panicked.”
William reportedly hid his diagnosis “because he didn’t want to alarm the nation” and continued to carry out engagements via video, though he took a week off, according to The Sun.
The prince’s wife, Kate Middleton, and children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis reportedly did not test positive.
Kensington Palace did not have an on-the-record comment for HuffPost on Monday, though its communications team did not deny the story.
Many criticized the prince, who is second in line to the throne, for hiding his diagnosis while his father, Prince Charles, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson were both struggling with the coronavirus at the same time.
Richard Palmer, royal correspondent for the Daily Express, said William’s decision to keep his positive diagnosis private may “haunt” him.
“The UK expects honesty from public figures, particularly during a pandemic. This may be a cover-up that will haunt William and those advising him,” Palmer tweeted on Sunday.
“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 added.
Palmer added that it made no sense to praise the future king for his cover-up when other global figures like Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Donald Trump and others would’ve been criticized for the same thing.
Others pointed out another reason the prince should’ve come forward: the British line of succession.
“If the unthinkable had happened and the Queen, Charles and William all passed away, the next in line would be Prince George, who is seven years old,” said Kate Williams, a historian, novelist and professor of public engagement with history at the University of Reading, told CNN Monday.
The public clearly expects transparency from other members of the royal family. People are still upset that William’s brother, Prince Harry, and his wife Meghan didn’t publicly name their son Archie’s godparents, for example.
And while the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were the first in the British royal family to wear masks while attending engagements or volunteering, the Duke of Cambridge recently attended an event with the queen where the two didn’t wear masks.
Earlier in the pandemic, William even joked 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 said during a royal tour of Ireland while speaking with first responder Joe Mooney on March 3.
The prince also asked Mooney if the crisis had been “a little bit hyped up” by the media and also joked about spreading the virus in separate video captured at the event.
“By the way, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are spreading coronavirus, sorry,” he quipped. “We’re keeping an eye on that, so do tell us if we need to stop.”
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