Prince William secretly battled coronavirus, even struggling to breathe—but kept his April ordeal a secret because he didn’t wish to alarm the public.
The Sun reported Sunday that William, 38—who is second in line to the British throne—contracted the virus after his father Prince Charles and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson both fell ill with coronavirus. Johnson became so sick he was placed in the intensive care unit of a London hospital.
A source told The Sun, “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. After seeing medics and testing positive—which was obviously quite a shock given how fit and healthy he is—William was determined it should be business as usual though. He was determined to fulfill his engagements.”
The Sun reported that William told one observer at an engagement: “There were important things going on and I didn’t want to worry anyone.”
William reportedly received treatment from Buckingham Palace doctors, isolated at his and wife Kate’s rural home, Anmer Hall in Norfolk, and continued to carry out 14 telephone and video call engagements.
William had a seven-day break from calls and video messages after April 9, the Sun reported, but during April carried out multiple engagements, including appearing on the BBC’s charity Comic Relief show, alongside comedian and author Stephen Fry.
A source told The Sun, “The Queen delivered her ‘We Will Meet Again’ address (on April 5, the day that Boris Johnson was hospitalized) and he just didn’t want to worry people. He felt there were more important things going on in the country.”
The news about William’s coronavirus battle broke the day after Johnson announced Britain was entering a second national lockdown, after it was revealed the U.K. had passed more than one million coronavirus cases.
A palace source told The Sun that “as a result of his own experiences, he (William) realizes absolutely anyone can catch this awful disease—and knows how imperative it is that we all take this second lockdown seriously.”
Prince Charles, who fell ill in March, said in June he had “got away with it quite lightly…I was lucky in my case… but I’ve had it, and I can so understand what other people have gone through.”
Charles said he felt “particularly for those who have lost their loved ones and have been unable to be with them at the time. That, to me, is the most ghastly thing. But in order to prevent this happening to so many more people, I’m so determined to find a way out of this.”
Charles said in June that he had been “terribly sad” at not being able to see the rest of the family because of the pandemic.
The Daily Beast has reached out to Kensington Palace for comment.