The royal footman, who regularly walks the Queen’s dogs and was in regular contact with the monarch, is now in self-isolation after falling ill with coronavirus, according to British tabloid The Sun. The revelation comes just days after the Queen’s son, Prince Charles, revealed he has also contracted the virus.
The footman has worked at Buckingham Palace for six years, but was promoted in 2019 to a role that involves taking meals to the Queen as well as managing her post. According to reports, the individual saw the monarch on a daily basis; however, it’s yet unclear when he was diagnosed.
The Queen, who relocated from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle on March 19, is believed to have severely reduced her support staff in recent days, with most royal staff working at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Sandringham now told to work from home.
At 93 years old, she would be a high-risk patient if she contracts the illness, as would her husband Prince Philip, who retired from royal duties in 2017 and has had numerous health problems in recent years.
Despite the cautionary measures to protect the Queen, Buckingham Palace said Saturday night that the monarch was in “good health” and that the Palace is following “all the appropriate advice.”
Photos released by the Palace Wednesday were said to show the Queen on the phone (pictured) with Prime Minister Boris Johnson — now revealed to be suffering with coronavirus himself — for their weekly meeting, which is normally conducted in person at Buckingham Palace.
Alarms were raised last week when 71-year-old Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, tested positive for coronavirus. Clarence House confirmed he was self-isolating at Balmoral Castle in Scotland with his wife, Duchess of Cornwall Camilla Parker Bowles, who tested negative for COVID-19.
It is believed the Prince of Wales saw the Queen after March 10 — when he sat across from Monegasque royal Prince Albert, who revealed he has coronavirus last week, at a charity event — however, experts have said it is unlikely Charles was contagious at that point.
The U.K.’s coronavirus death toll has climbed steeply in recent days, with more than 1,200 deaths to date. Overall, there are 19,500 positive cases of the virus. The country is now in lockdown mode, with chief medical officer Jenny Harries noting during the daily press briefing on Sunday that it could take six months before life in the U.K. returns to normal, though the lockdown is expected to end before that time.
A representative for Buckingham Palace did not respond to request for comment by press time.