Duke of Cambridge jokes about unwittingly ‘spreading’ coronavirus

The Duke of Cambridge has joked about unwittingly "spreading" the coronavirus while meeting well-wishers during his Irish tour.

William poked fun at himself after he questioned a paramedic about whether he thought coverage of the illness was "being a little hyped up" in the media.

The duke's comments came as it emerged the royal and his wife, who are on a three-day visit to Ireland, are taking advice on the coronavirus threat, but will continue meeting people as usual.

17 PHOTOS
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Ireland
See Gallery
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Ireland
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet with the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina Coyne at Aras an Uachtarain, Dublin, during their three day visit to the Republic of Ireland.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive to meet with the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina Coyne at Aras an Uachtarain, Dublin, during their three day visit to the Republic of Ireland.
The Duchess of Cambridge meets with the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins at Aras an Uachtarain, Dublin, during her three day visit to the Republic of Ireland.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet with the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina Coyne at Aras an Uachtarain, Dublin, during their three day visit to the Republic of Ireland.
People waiting the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their visit to the Garden of Remembrance, Uachtarain, Dublin, s part of their three day visit to the Republic of Ireland.
People looking out of a window waiting the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their visit to the Garden of Remembrance, Uachtarain, Dublin, s part of their three day visit to the Republic of Ireland.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet with the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina Coyne at Aras an Uachtarain, Dublin, during their three day visit to the Republic of Ireland.
People looking out of a window waiting the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their visit to the Garden of Remembrance, Uachtarain, Dublin, s part of their three day visit to the Republic of Ireland.
The Duke of Cambridge sings a visitors book next to his wife as they meet with Ireland's President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina, at the official presidential residence Aras an Uachtarain in Dublin, Ireland.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are greeted by representatives from the Irish government and the British Ambassador as they arrive at Dublin International Airport ahead of their three day visit to the Republic of Ireland.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are greeted by representatives from the Irish government and the British Ambassador as they arrive at Dublin International Airport ahead of their three day visit to the Republic of Ireland.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet with the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina Coyne at Aras an Uachtarain, Dublin, during their three day visit to the Republic of Ireland.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet with the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina Coyne at Aras an Uachtarain, Dublin, during their three day visit to the Republic of Ireland.
The Duchess of Cambridge walks down the steps of the plane as she arrives at Dublin International Airport ahead of a three day visit to the Republic of Ireland.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - MARCH 03: President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina Coyne watch as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge ring a bell during a meeting at Áras an Uachtaráin on March 03, 2020 in Dublin, Ireland. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are undertaking an official visit to Ireland between Tuesday 3rd March and Thursday 5th March, at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - MARCH 03: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge is seen during a meeting with the President of Ireland at Áras an Uachtaráin on March 03, 2020 in Dublin, Ireland. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are undertaking an official visit to Ireland between Tuesday 3rd March and Thursday 5th March, at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - MARCH 03: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, meet with Ireland's President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina Coyne as they stand next to President's dog at the official presidential residence Aras an Uachtarain on March 3, 2020 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Phil Noble - Pool/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Earlier, the Queen wore gloves to present honours during an investiture ceremony, but Buckingham Palace declined to confirm whether the monarch was taking the precaution because of the outbreak.

William talked about the infection as he chatted to emergency workers at a reception hosted by Britain's Ambassador to Ireland Robin Barnett in the Gravity Bar at Dublin's Guinness Storehouse.

He asked Joe Mooney, an advance paramedic with the National Ambulance Service: "I bet everyone's like 'I've got coronavirus, I'm dying', and you're like 'no, you've just got a cough'.

"Does it seem quite dramatic about coronavirus at the moment? Is it being a little bit hyped up do you think in the media?"

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Ireland - Day 1
The Duchess of Cambridge sips from a pint of Guinness (James Whatling/PA)

Later he grimaced with mock horror as he said: "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."

The couple shook hands with dozens of people on the first day of their tour and are expected to continue to do so, based on advice they are being given.

A royal source said last night the couple were following guidance from Public Health England and the Department of Health and that meant "business as usual" for now.

"This is a discussion we have been having and everything we are doing should continue as usual," said the source.

William and Kate enjoyed a pint of Guinness at the Storehouse – a major visitor attraction which tells the story of the famous drink – with the duke toasting his hosts in Gaelic, raising his pint and saying "Slainte".

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Ireland - Day 1
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at a reception hosted by the British Ambassador (Niall Carson/PA)

He also addressed the guests from the worlds of sport, film, television and the armed forces in Irish, calling them "dhaoine uaisle" – "Ladies and Gentlemen".

"Catherine and I are delighted to be here tonight and are both very grateful to Robin for his generous words," said the duke.

"Ireland is a country that we have both heard so much about, so we are really excited to be here with you to see it first-hand for ourselves.

"In coming to the Guinness Storehouse, we are retracing the footsteps of my grandmother, who was shown how to pour the perfect pint here in 2011.

"Ladies and Gentlemen let me tell you it is not often that I find myself following the Queen to a pub. But I am looking forward to testing for myself the theory that Guinness tastes even better in Ireland than overseas."

Read Full Story Click here to comment

FROM OUR PARTNERS