Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Prince William facing test of character, says royal expert

Prince of Wales faces father’s and wife’s health scares as well as ongoing feud with brother back in UK

Tara Cobham
Wednesday 07 February 2024 12:08 GMT
Prince William under ‘a lot of pressure’ after King Charles’ diagnosis, says ex-royal butler

Prince William is facing a “test of his character” as the nation watches their future King endure multiple stressors, a royal expert has said.

The Prince of Wales is coming up against the joint pressures of his father’s shock cancer diagnosis, his wife’s recuperation from her medical procedure, and his relationship with his brother who has just arrived back in the UK.

Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told The Independent: “Times like these do test – a test, I suppose, of character. No doubt this is very difficult. Charles, his father, and Catherine, his wife, unwell – then, of course, the business with Harry is serious because he doesn’t trust him.”

Prince William is facing a ‘test of his character’ as the nation watches their future King endure multiple stressors, says royal expert (Getty)

Buckingham Palace announced on Monday that the King was receiving treatment for an undisclosed form of cancer – discovered while he underwent surgery for a benign enlarged prostate last month – and is stepping back from public engagements.

Just an hour before Charles’ surgery was announced, it was revealed that the Princess of Wales was being treated in hospital after undergoing successful, planned abdominal surgery. She has since returned home to continue her recovery but is not expected to return to royal duties until after Easter.

Meanwhile, the Duke of Sussex made a transatlantic dash from his home in California following the news of his father’s shock diagnosis, arriving at Clarence House on Tuesday afternoon.

Britain's King Charles III and Britain's Queen Camilla wave as they leave by car from Clarence House in London on Tuesday (AFP via Getty Images)

However, William has reportedly not been in contact with his brother for an extended period of time amid a long feud. The duke’s allegations against his family appeared unrelenting in the aftermath of his and Meghan’s Oprah interview, and, in the months following the Queen’s death, his Netflix documentary and memoir Spare.

However, Fitzwilliams joined other royal watchers in expressing his hopes the royal family would pull together at such a tough time. “In a crisis, families should be in it together,” he said.

Royal commentator Robert Jobson believes that, while the upcoming period “is going to be tough”, William is “more than capable of stepping up and doing what he’s got to do”.

William has reportedly not been in contact with his brother for an extended period of time amid a years-long feud (PA)

He pointed to William’s good health, experience and intelligence, as he said, “There’s no doubt he’ll be prepared – he’s been preparing all his life.”

As the King gets older, he expects the Prince of Wales will increasingly play more of a supporting role to the monarch.

Currently, Mr Jobson said: “William simply will focus on the job in hand – number one, making sure his wife and family are okay, number two, supporting the King with official duties. William will do what’s in front of him rather than worrying about the bigger picture.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in