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Confirmed: The first royal has contracted coronavirus

Karl von Habsburg, the Archduke of Austria, has been diagnosed with COVID-19

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Gemma Strong
Online Digital News Director
17 March 2020
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The European royal households are feeling the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. It has been confirmed Karl von Habsburg, the Archduke of Austria, has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is now being quarantined. The 59-year-old, who is the head of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, confirmed the news in a phone call on the Austrian TV channel oe24. "It's annoying, but I'm fine. It's not the black plague," he said. "I thought it was the usual flu. When a friend called me that he had a positive test at a congress in Switzerland, I was also tested." The Archduke went on to praise the Austrian authorities for acting "with measure and goal". He added, "Panic is not brought in."

Watch: What is a pandemic?

It comes after Spain's King Felipe and Queen Letizia revealed that had also been tested for coronavirus. The royal couple decided to go ahead as a precaution after Letizia came in contact with a government official who subsequently tested positive for the coronavirus. On Friday, the Spanish royal house released a statement confirming that the king and queen had been given the all-clear. It read: "The results of the tests of the COVID-19 carried out yesterday to Their Majesties are negative. Following the recommendations of the health authorities, Her Majesty the Queen will remain without activities and will carry out the periodic temperature taking controls required in these situations."

MORE: How royal families have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic

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Karl von Habsburg has tested positive for coronavirus

The coronavirus outbreak has affected numerous royal events, including the postponement of the Monaco royal family's annual Rose Ball and Queen Mathilde of Belgium’s state visit to Italy. Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark have also pulled their four children out of school in Switzerland due to the pandemic.

MORE: Princess Anne continues to carry out royal duties amid coronavirus outbreak

Buckingham Palace, meanwhile, is now looking at the implications of the new government advice on the coronavirus and how it will impact royal events in the upcoming months. The royal household is hoping to let the public know of any changes in the next few days, and how the coronavirus pandemic will have an effect on the scheduled events the Queen, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Charles, and the Duchess of Cornwall, and the rest of the family are due to attend. Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned the public on Monday afternoon that people should avoid all non-essential contact, including large gatherings, particularly for those over the age of 70.

Upcoming royal events that may be postponed or cancelled as a result include Trooping the Colour in June, which is attended by all members of the royal family to celebrate the Queen's official birthday. There are also events such as the Chelsea Flower Show and Wimbledon, which are popular with the royals.

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