Prince William has resumed his royal duties following a challenging period for the British Royal Family.
The Prince of Wales temporarily stepped back from royal engagements to care for his wife, Princess Catherine, and their three children, but has now taken on a more prominent role in light of King Charles’ cancer diagnosis.
Last month, Catherine underwent planned abdominal surgery, prompting William to prioritise family responsibilities. During this time, King Charles underwent treatment for an enlarged prostate. However, on Monday, February 5 Buckingham Palace disclosed that subsequent tests revealed the presence of cancer.
“During The King’s recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted. Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer,” Buckingham Palace confirmed in a statement.
“His Majesty has today commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties. Throughout this period, His Majesty will continue to undertake State business and official paperwork as usual.
“The King is grateful to his medical team for their swift intervention, which was made possible thanks to his recent hospital procedure. He remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible.
“His Majesty has chosen to share his diagnosis to prevent speculation and in the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer.”
William returned to public duties on Wednesday, February 7, hosting an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle. The ceremony saw him awarding honours such as CBEs, OBEs, and MBEs to deserving recipients. Later in the day, he attended a gala fundraising dinner for London’s Air Ambulance Charity.
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Former England footballer Ellen White, honoured by Prince William with an MBE for her contributions to football, shared her best wishes for the King during the ceremony.
Reflecting on her conversation with the Prince, she said, “I sent my best wishes to the King.”
“I just think, you know, it must be a difficult time for the family. He was really lovely,” she told PA news agency.
“It was a really nice conversation. I’ve met him a couple of times, he definitely puts you at ease.”
With King Charles temporarily stepping back from public duties for treatment and Catherine’s expected absence until after Easter, the burden of representing the Monarchy falls on the shoulders of the remaining royals, particularly Prince William and Queen Camilla.
Royal author Robert Hardman noted that Prince William had previously assumed substantial state duties towards the end of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, showcasing his experience and preparation for such responsibilities.
“In that regard, it’s not that different but obviously there’s the burden of expectation,” Hardman told Reuters.
“On many occasions he will have to stand in, he’ll be sort of quasi head of state in much the same way that Prince Charles was when the queen was infirm.”
As Prince William assumes greater royal responsibilities, Charles’ second son, Prince Harry, returned to the UK to meet with his ailing father.
The unexpected visit has reignited hopes for a reconciliation that seemed elusive in recent years.
Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams acknowledged the challenging circumstances surrounding the Royal Family but expressed optimism about the potential for positive outcomes.
“Sometimes benefits can come from difficult times and situations we would never wish on anyone,” he told the Daily Mail.
“The news that King Charles has cancer is a severe shock. It is only natural that Harry should want to be with him. It is also wise that he comes alone as there is a serious rift within the royal family.
“Harry will, despite all the disagreements of past years, naturally want to wish his father a speedy recovery in person.
“Let us hope that from this meeting, at a very difficult time for the royal family with the Princess of Wales recovering from an abdominal surgery, a positive future, which would obviously include Meghan, emerges.
“This might be difficult, as their differences have been so in the public domain, but would benefit everyone involved enormously.
“The main issue for the moment is obviously that of the King’s health, everyone knows how serious cancer can be and will wish this remarkable monarch, who waited longer than any other Prince of Wales to succeed to the throne, a speedy and complete recovery.”