Prince William Speaks Out About Coronavirus, Days After Joking About It

The Duke of Cambridge said he had "dreaded the day" the U.K.'s National Emergencies Trust would be needed.

Prince William certainly isn’t joking about spreading coronavirus now.

The Duke of Cambridge issued a message Wednesday about COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in a video on behalf of the U.K.’s National Emergencies Trust. The NET was established in 2019 following the Manchester bombing and Grenfell fire tragedies and works to help “raise and distribute money and support victims at the time of a domestic disaster.”

“Whenever and wherever adversity strikes, the people of the United Kingdom have a unique ability to pull together,” William said in the video. “The way the local communities support those affected shows the very best of our values and human nature.”

The duke added that while he had “dreaded the day” the National Emergencies Trust would be needed, he is “grateful” that the charity exists during the current coronavirus pandemic.

“Now, more than ever, I am grateful that the National Emergencies Trust exists. It will ensure that support reaches those across the U.K. who need it most, as quickly and efficiently as possible,” he said. “And it will help to ensure that all our efforts to overcome this challenge are channeled in the best possible way.”

Earlier this month, while on a royal tour of Ireland with wife Kate Middleton, the Duke of Cambridge was heard joking about the virus.

“I bet everyone’s like ‘I’ve got coronavirus, I’m dying,’ and you’re like, ‘No, you’ve just got a cough,’” the royal said during a conversation with first responder Joe Mooney at a reception at the Guinness Storehouse on March 3.

William also asked Mooney if the crisis had been “a little bit hyped up” by the media.

In a separate video, William was observed saying, “By the way, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are spreading coronavirus, sorry. We’re keeping an eye on that, so do tell us if we need to stop.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle committed themselves to helping their fans and followers on Wednesday. The Sussexes said they would be sharing accurate information and uplifting stories on their social media pages in the coming days.

Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Queen Elizabeth have also canceled future engagements due to COVID-19, and Princess Beatrice is considering canceling her May 29 wedding.

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