Prince William Offers 'Huge Congratulations' to Oxford Researchers on Coronavirus Vaccine

Prince William is sharing his personal gratitude to a team of Oxford researchers who have created a coronavirus vaccine.

The royal, who secretly tested positive for COVID-19 in April, spoke to a team from The University of Oxford via video call to offer a "huge, huge congratulations" on their work.

"Well done, I’m so pleased for all of you, I really am. I saw it in everyone’s faces back in June how much time and effort was going into this, and I could see that there was a lot of pressure on everyone, so I’m so thrilled that you’ve cracked it – so really well done," he said.

William, 38, spoke with Professor Andy Pollard, Professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity, Professor Sarah Gilbert, Professor of Vaccinology, and Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University about the vaccine, created alongside AstraZeneca. The researchers told the prince how the vaccine — found to be up to 90% effective — is based on decades of in-depth research and will be transformational in the next six months.

The royal family was directly affected by coronavirus, with multiple members of the family becoming ill. While Prince Charles, 71, was said to have experienced "mild symptoms," Prince William was "hit pretty hard," according to The Sun. But because his father had contracted the virus shortly before his own diagnosis, William kept the diagnosis quiet, as he didn't want to alarm the public any further with the news of him also getting sick.

William was seen by royal doctors at his country home, Anmer Hall, where he was quarantined in the early weeks of the pandemic. He didn’t need to visit the hospital and neither his wife, Kate Middleton, nor their children, Prince George, 7, Princess Charlotte, 5, and Prince Louis, 2, contracted the illness.

In the first week of April, as the virus gripped the U.K. and the wider world, William's grandmother Queen Elizabeth gave an inspiring address to the nation.

Also during the time, the father of three continued with his official engagements, which usually took place via video calls, often alongside Kate, 38. But there was a gap in his public work from April 9 to the 16, with William re-appearing for engagements (again via video) to open one of the U.K.'s emergency field hospitals.

During the event, the prince praised health workers for their “incredible work” amid the coronavirus crisis, saying their “selfless commitment has touched the hearts of the entire nation.”

William's reported diagnosis came only a few weeks after he joked about spreading the virus while he and Kate were touring Ireland in March.

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Princess Michael of Kent, 75, recently tested positive for COVID-19. The royal, who is married to Queen Elizabeth's cousin Prince Michael of Kent, is reportedly experiencing severe fatigue and fevers while she isolates at her Kensington Palace home.

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