Coronavirus: Concern as Camilla's ex-husband diagnosed with COVID-19

Rebecca Taylor
Royal Correspondent
Andrew Parker-Bowles was with Princess Anne at Cheltenham Racecourse. (Getty Images)

The Duchess of Cornwall’s former husband has been diagnosed with coronavirus, soon after attending Cheltenham Festival.

Andrew Parker-Bowles, who was married to Camilla from 1973 to 1995, has confirmed he contracted COVID-19 and may have had it when he was at the festival in Gloucestershire.

Parker-Bowles, who briefly dated Princess Anne in the early 1970s, is still friends with the royals and was seen with Anne and her daughter Zara Tindall during the event.

But it’s thought he would not have been contagious during the festival.

He told The Daily Telegraph: “I probably got it on the Wednesday or Friday I attended Cheltenham.

“I’ve felt pretty bloody awful with it. It’s better in the mornings and gets worse as the day goes on.

“I’ve had a bad cough and I’ve been very lethargic. I’m sleeping twice as long as normal.”

Read more: Coronavirus: Prince Charles praises NHS workers and volunteers in video message after leaving isolation

Andrew Parker Bowles, Zara Tindall and Princess Anne, Princess Royal spent time together at the festival. (Getty Images)

Cheltenham Festival faced some criticism for carrying on with the event at the start of the outbreak in the UK.

Organisers defended the decision to continue, but did see a drop of about 10% in visitor numbers.

Parker-Bowles, 80, told The Daily Telegraph he knew of others who contracted the virus from the festival.

Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, attended the festival but it was her husband, Prince Charles, who became the first British royal to contract the virus.

He was at an event in London with Prince Albert, the head of state in Monaco. Albert also contracted coronavirus.

Both the royals are now out of self-isolation.

However Camilla remains in self-isolation because she is following the government guidelines of 14 days for those in the same household as those with symptoms.

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Her test for COVID-19 was negative. No other royals have reported symptoms, and Buckingham Palace has previously said the Queen is in good health.

The final day of the festival, 13 March, was also when the Royal Family took more steps to protect against the spread of the virus.

Charles and Camilla postponed an overseas tour to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Queen postponed engagements in Camden, north London, and Cheshire.

Read more: Why did Prince Charles get tested for COVID-19?

Princess Royal with Andrew Parker Bowles and Nicky Henderson during day two of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. (Getty Images)

At the time, Ian Renton, regional director of Cheltenham, said: “All the measures we put in place were well used by racegoers, and we were topping up our hand sanitiser gel stations all day long. The racegoers heeded the advice we gave to ensure that hygiene was kept at a maximum.

“We have been liaising with the government throughout this; their advice has been extremely helpful. We’ve been following that advice to the letter and we will continue to do so until the conclusion of the festival.”

Read more: Prince Albert 'didn't shake' Charles's hand as royals fight COVID-19

Cheltenham Festival finished on 13 March, three days before the UK government advised against all non-essential travel. On 20 March, all bars, pubs and clubs as well as cafes and restaurants were closed and a week later, the country was put into effective lockdown.

Dozens of other sporting and entertainment events have been cancelled, including Wimbledon 2020 and the Edinburgh Fringe Festivals.