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Prince William carries out public duties for first time since father’s diagnosis and Kate’s surgery

The Prince of Wales is taking on extra royal duties as King Charles undergoes treatment for an undisclosed cancer

Athena Stavrou
Thursday 08 February 2024 00:27 GMT
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Prince William thanks public for support in first appearance since King’s cancer diagnosis

The Prince of Wales has returned to his royal duties for the first time since his father was diagnosed with cancer and his wife underwent surgery.

William carried out an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle on Tuesday morning, the first time he has been seen since news of King Charles’ diagnosis was revealed by Buckingham Palace on Monday.

Charles is receiving regular treatment for an unknown form of cancer that was found during his recent stay in hospital for a procedure on an enlarged prostate. He has postponed all public duties and other members of the royal family are expected to take on additional engagements.

Brigadier Tobias Lambert is made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by the Prince of Wales at Windsor Castle (PA)

Other royals are expected to expand their duties while Charles is undergoing treatment, including his eldest son and heir William.

The prince, who is president of the Football Association, honoured former England footballer Ellen White with an MBE at the event this morning.

The record-scoring Lioness said she sent her “best wishes” to the King when speaking with the Prince of Wales at the ceremony.

Asked about her conversation with the prince, she told the PA news agency: “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 added: “It was a really nice conversation. I’ve met him a couple of times, he definitely puts you at ease.”

Other recipients at the ceremony included David Shreeve – who co-founded an environmental action group with TV botanist David Bellamy – and Francis Dickinson – who solved an 80-year-old maritime mystery by locating the wreck of a submarine lost at sea during the Second World War.

In the evening, William attended the gala fundraising dinner for London’s Air Ambulance Charity in central London in his role as the organisation’s patron.

King Charles headed to Sandringham after meeting Harry on Tuesday (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

The gala dinner is raising funds for London’s Air Ambulance Charity’s Up Against Time appeal, which is seeking £15 million to replace the service’s helicopter fleet by the autumn.

William is a former air ambulance pilot with the East Anglian Air Ambulance and during the event he met crew members, former patients and supporters. In a speech he expressed his gratitude to the public for their “kind messages of support”.

The prince said: “I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you, also, for the kind messages of support for Catherine and for my father, especially in recent days. It means a great deal to us all.

Prince William has issued thanks to the public for its support (EPA)

“It’s fair to say the past few weeks have had a rather medical focus, so I thought I’d come to an air ambulance function to get away from it all.”

Guests at the event also included Hollywood star Tom Cruise, who he praised for being a supporter of the charity and for donating gifts to be raffled.

William told him: “And Tom, if you wouldn’t mind not borrowing either of the new helicopters for the next Mission Impossible, it would be appreciated.

“We have all seen on our screens that – how can I put it – you seem to have a different take on ‘normal wear and tear’ to the rest of us. It’s not the kind that buffs out.”

While he returns to his duties, the prince is still focused on caring for his wife and three children in the aftermath of Kate’s health scare.

William’s words of praise, delivered during a fundraising gala dinner (PA) (PA Wire)

In January, the Princess of Wales spent 13 days in a private London hospital recovering from an abdominal surgery and is not expected to return to work until after Easter.

A source told the Daily Mail: “The Prince has always made clear that his priority is to support his wife and family for the time being – and he did not put a timescale on that.

“He will make a return to duties on Wednesday but you should not expect to see him again for a bit after that.”

The prince is the second royal to continue royal duties since the King revealed his diagnosis, with notoriously hard-working royal Princess Anne carrying out an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle on Tuesday.

Among the guests at the gala dinner was Tom Cruise (Daniel Leal/PA Wire)

His busy day comes as his brother, Prince Harry, has made a rare visit to the UK to see their father after his cancer diagnosis.

The Duke rushed to London from his home in California yesterday for a brief meeting with Charles, but is not expected to see William before he returns to LA.

Instead of staying in one of the many royal residences, sources told the Mail Online that the Duke opted to stay in a central London hotel.

A source close to William told The Times that there were “no plans” for the future king to meet Harry and royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said the relationship between the brothers showed “no signs of thawing”.

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