United Kingdom

Prince Charles speaks for the first time about suffering coronavirus

Prince Charles today described the coronavirus pandemic as a 'strange, frustrating and often distressing experience' after recovering from the infection.

The 71-year-old Prince of Wales paid tribute to emergency services workers and shop staff in a three-minute video and stressed the importance of living with hope.

He also said it was 'essential' that key workers including NHS staff were 'treated with special consideration' when finishing their shifts and trying to go shopping.

The message, recorded this morning by staff at Birkhall, the Prince's home in Scotland, marked his first appearance since coming out of self-isolation.  

Prince Charles paid tribute to emergency services workers and shop staff in a video message released by Clarence House today and stressed the importance of living with hope

He said: 'Having recently gone through the process of contracting this coronavirus, luckily with relatively mild symptoms, I now find myself on the other side of the illness, but still in no less a state of social distance and general isolation.

'As we are all learning this is a strange, frustrating and often distressing experience when the presence of family and friends is no longer possible and the normal structures of life are suddenly removed.

'At such an unprecedented and anxious time in all our lives, my wife and I are thinking particularly of all of those who have lost their loved ones in such very difficult and abnormal circumstances, and of those having to endure sickness, isolation and loneliness.'

Charles went on to say: 'As patron of Age UK, and my wife the patron of SilverLine, our hearts go out to all those older people throughout this country who are now experiencing great difficulty.

Prince Charles with his wife Camilla, the Queen, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on March 9

'However, we also know that in every community up and down this land - where people of all ages are being affected by this virus - there are truly wonderful neighbours, individuals and groups of volunteers who are providing ceaseless care and attention to those most at risk and that all this network of selfless assistance is, in itself, helping to provide vital support and reassurance to the hard-pressed professional services.

'And at a time when doctors, nurses and all the vital ancillary staff that form the backbone of our remarkable NHS are increasingly under such enormous strain, and risk, as they battle heroically to save lives in intensive care centres and to contain, as much as possible, the spread of this virus, our thoughts and prayers are very much with those marvellous people whose extraordinary skills and utter, selfless devotion to duty and the care of their patients make us so very proud.'

He also praised those on the front line in the National Health Service, saying they needed the country's support.

'It is clearly essential, therefore, that such key people are treated with special consideration when coming off their exhausting duties and trying to do their shopping, for instance, while having to contend with constant anxiety about their own families and friends,' Charles said.

Charles, who is residing at Birkhall on the Balmoral estate, was diagnosed as having Covid-19 following a test on the NHS in Aberdeenshire.

Fortunately, he only suffered what were described as 'mild' symptoms and carried on working throughout. He came out of self-isolation on Monday.

Royal sources said the prince was in 'good health' and his self-isolation lasted seven days 'in accordance with government and medical guidelines'.

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall greet guests during the Commonwealth Reception at Marlborough House in London on Commonwealth Day on March 9

(From left) The Queen, Charles, Camilla, William and Kate at Westminster Abbey on March 9

He is now said to be operating under 'standard' government and medical nationwide restrictions.

It's understood that he will continue to hold meetings over the phone and via video conferencing, talking to the many charities he supports to see if he can help them through the current crisis.

He is also in touch with his Duchy of Cornwall land stewards about supporting his tenants, particularly in the south west of England.

But he can now also get some exercise outdoors, walking in his beloved Scottish Highlands.

The news comes as a record-breaking 381 coronavirus deaths and 3,009 cases were declared in the UK yesterday, on what was Britain's darkest day so far in the ever-worsening crisis

His wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, tested negative for the virus but immediately went into self-isolation and will remain so - in a different part of the house - until the end of the week. Sources say she has shown no sign of the virus.

The Mail revealed last week that Camilla has been cheering herself up by chatting with her family via video on the popular Houseparty app.

The Prince began to experience symptoms of Covid-19 around ten days ago, as he flew up to Scotland from Highgrove, his Gloucestershire home.

He is said to have been in 'good spirits' throughout his sickness.

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