Belgian prince apologises for lockdown party in Spain

A Belgian prince has apologised after being caught breaking Spain’s lockdown rules by attending a party, where he became infected with Covid-19.

Prince Joachim, nephew of King Philippe of the Belgians and 10th in line to the throne, said on Sunday he deeply regretted his actions and would accept “all the consequences”.

The prince has tested positive for coronavirus, according to Belgian media, after attending a private party in Córdoba on 26 May attended by friends and family. According to Spain’s El Confidencial, which broke the story, 27 people had attended the event, at a time when gatherings with a maximum of 15 guests were permitted.

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All the guests have subsequently gone into quarantine and police are investigating the event, which could result in fines of up to €10,000 (£8,974) for breaching Spain’s lockdown rules.

The Belgian palace said the prince had travelled to Spain on 24 May to do an internship at a company and had attended a “family gathering” on 26 May. Spanish media have also reported that the 28-year old prince’s partner is from Córdoba.

The prince’s behaviour has gone down badly in Spain, which has one of the highest death tolls in the world from coronavirus and endured a strict lockdown, where children were confined to their homes without being able to go outside for exercise for 45 days. 

“I feel surprised and indignant … [as] at a moment of national mourning for so many dead, an incident of this type stands out,” the national government’s subdelegate in Córdoba, Rafaela Valenzuela, told El País.

“It’s completely irresponsible, because that number of people multiplied could cause an outbreak, and that would mean that Cordoba, after passing to Phase 2, would have to take a step back. That is unforgivable,” Valenzuela said.

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