The coronavirus threat is rapidly spreading, with over 82,000 confirmed cases around the globe. It has reached least 11 European countries, with the number of cases in Italy jumping to 400. The threat has also reached schools around the world, including the private academy where Prince William and Kate Middleton’s two oldest children are enrolled.
Prince George, 6, and Princess Charlotte, 4, both attend Thomas’s Battersea in London, and there are now reports that at least four pupils at the school are staying home in self-isolation after exhibiting potential novel coronavirus symptoms. Prince George has been a student at Thomas’s Battersea since 2017, and his younger sister joined him at the private school this year.
A spokesperson for St. Thomas’s Battersea reportedly confirmed to U.K. outlets that a few students were in self-isolation and awaiting test results. The statement notes that “Like all schools we are taking the potential risk connected with the spread of COVID-19 very seriously. And to this end are following government guidance to the letter around both prevention against infection and in dealing with cases where any staff or pupils are suspected of being exposed to the virus or who display symptoms.”
“We currently have a very small number of pupils who have been tested and these individuals are currently, as per government advice, remaining at home pending the receipt of their test results.” Two of the children in self-isolation reportedly exhibited the flu-like symptoms, including a cough and fever, after returning to the U.K. from a recent trip to northern Italy, where there has been a serious coronavirus outbreak. British authorities are encouraging anyone who has recently returned to the U.K. after visits to the impacted areas of Italy or Asia to self-isolate if they have any symptoms.
All parents with children enrolled at the school, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have been informed. Kensington Palace hasn’t commented nor confirmed the reports, and Thomas’s Battersea hasn’t issued a further public statement to all media. There’s no suggestion that Prince George or Princess Charlotte has been exposed to coronavirus.
St. Thomas’s Battersea was closed last week for half-term break, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge used the time to take Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis on a family staycation at Anmer Hall, their Sandringham country home in Norfolk. While there were rumors that the Cambridges would take a skiing trip, perhaps they decided now wasn’t the time to take any chances. Other members of the royal family, however, did hit the slopes in impacted regions recently—Zara and Mike Tindall were on a family vacation skiing in northern Italy, but their spokesperson confirmed that after following government guidelines for coronavirus procedures, they haven’t displayed any symptoms and won’t be going into self-isolation.