Why William kept Covid-19 diagnosis a secret – and how Harry could technically have taken the throne

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Prince Harry and Prince William
Prince Harry and Prince William
Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
  • Had the coronavirus proved fatal for Prince Charles and Prince William, Prince Harry would likely have succeeded the queen.
  • Prince William recently revealed he'd contracted the virus in April, shortly after Prince Charles in March.
  • Prince William "was hit pretty hard by the virus," a source said. "At one stage he was struggling to breathe."
  • As per the Regency Acts, even though Prince William's three children are next in line to the throne, Prince Harry would have had to step in, temporarily. 


News recently broke that Prince William had contracted the coronavirus back in April.

The Duke of Cambridge quarantined at Anmer Hall where he was staying with Kate Middleton, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis at the start of the pandemic, and though he carried out many engagements – virtually, of course – he took a big knock.

"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," a source said.

The duke kept his diagnosis a secret though, so as not to worry the public, particularly after Prince Charles' had just announced he'd contracted the virus.

Although Prince Charles suffered from "mild symptoms" had things gotten worse – fatal – Prince William would become the heir apparent. Had William succumbed to the virus too though, while Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis are next in line to the throne, their uncle, Prince Harry, would likely have become king.

Though Harry has chosen a different life in America with Meghan Markle, he is still in line to the throne, and although he's sixth in the line of succession, as per the Regency Acts, he would have had to step in for his nephew until he came of age.

"If the Sovereign is, at His Accession, under the age of eighteen years, then, until He attains that age, the royal functions shall be performed in the name and on behalf of the Sovereign by a Regent."
-- The Regency Acts

The Regent is the person who is next in line to the throne, and over 21 years old. And because both Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis are younger than their big brother, it is Prince William's younger brother who would temporarily wear the crown, and probably see the Sussexes return to the UK.

Should Prince Harry choose to abdicate the throne? Well, Archie, being seventh in line, is much too young, so the monarchy would have a tough decision making a call on the eighth in line: Prince Andrew.  

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24