Belgian prince apologises after attending a lockdown party in Spain

Prince Joachim caught COVID-19 following the gathering

Prince Joachim of Belgium has publicly apologised for attending a lockdown party in Spain. The 28-year-old – who is the nephew of King Philippe – has said he deeply regretted his actions and was willing to accept "the consequences". "I would like to apologise for travelling and not having respected the quarantine measure," Joachim said in a statement to People, which was released through his attorney in Spain. "I did not intend to offend or disrespect anyone in these very difficult times and deeply regret my actions and accept the consequences," he added, signing off his announcement, "Joachim of Belgium."

Prince Joachim of Belgium has issued an apology

A Belgian court official told Spanish newspaper El Pais that the royal had travelled to Spain on 26 May for an internship. He then went on to attend a party in Cordoba two days later, and started showing symptoms of COVID-19 the following day, the official stated. Prince Joachim has since been diagnosed with coronavirus.

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According to Spanish media, 27 people were at the party – far more than the 15-person limit permitted in the southern city at the time. The Belgian royal family has said only 12 people were present. Spanish authorities have now opened an investigation into the party, while the partygoers have all been ordered to quarantine. It could result in individual fines of up to €10,000 (£8,974) for breaching Spain's lockdown rules.

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King Philippe of Belgium with his wife Queen Mathilde

Prior to his visit to Spain, Prince Joachim, who is the younger son and third child of Prince Lorenz and Princess Astrid, was self-isolating with his parents at the Castle of Laeken in Brussels.

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Earlier this month, Joachim's uncle, Prince Laurent of Belgium, said that the coronavirus had affected his family, but he did not specify how, stating: "We do not know how, but the coronavirus has entered our household." Several other royals around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in recent months. In the UK, Prince Charles experienced a mild case of the virus back in March, and Prince Albert of Monaco also tested positive but, like the heir to the British throne, continued to work. It is unknown whether the two men, who had attended the same function, contracted the illness at the same time.