Less than two weeks after King Charles III was admitted to a London hospital to be treated for an enlarged prostate, Buckingham Palace revealed that tests had revealed “a form of cancer.”
Since doctors have “advised Charles to postpone his public duties,” many expected other members of the royal family to step forward.
What does this news mean for Charles' two sons, William and Harry?
Will any of the King's “public-facing duties” fall to Prince William?
In theory, any of the few working royals could be called upon to attend events in King Charles' place and take on other duties while he receives treatment.
Queen Camilla, Princess Anne and Sofia, Duchess of Edinburgh are expected to absorb some of them.
But many of Carlos' duties are expected to fall to his son Guillermo, the Prince of Waleswho is the heir to the throne.
The prince had recently decided that he would take time off from his public duties while his wife, Catherine, was hospitalized for a “scheduled abdominal operation.”
(To allow for her recovery, Catherine would not undertake any public activities until after Easter, the royal family said then.)
“With the Princess of Wales undergoing abdominal surgery and out of the public eye, I think the spotlight will turn to Prince William,” said Elizabeth Holmes, a journalist who has written extensively about the royals.
Holmes added that last week the queen consort had “public engagements every day, which is a lot.”
How will Guillermo's daily life change during this time?
Guillermo's life had already been turned upside down with his wife's hospitalization, but in the coming weeks he will likely be asked to add events and ceremonies from his father's calendar to his own agenda.
“The Prince of Wales is currently taking time to support his wife, The Princess of Wales, as she recovers from abdominal surgery at their home in Windsor,” Lee Thompson, William and Kate's communications secretary, said in an email. email on Tuesday.
“Although the prince has been working privately, he will begin his public duties tomorrow.”
Lee added that while Charles receives treatment, William “will be able to carry out some tasks on behalf of the king, in addition to his own schedule of engagements.”
Will his father's diagnosis bring Prince Harry back into the fold?
Since Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, announced their intention to “retire” from their roles as senior members of the royal family in January 2020, Harry has largely remained in California with his wife and the two the couple's young children.
Prince Harry visited his father on Tuesday. Above, the scene outside Clarence House, King Charles' London residence, during what is believed to be Harry's arrival. Photo Hannah Mckay/Reuters
At least part of that time was spent at a lush estate in Montecito, California, granting a revealing interview to Oprah Winfrey in March 2021 and participating in a Netflix documentary series, “Harry and Meghan”, released the following year.
Carlos' health problems are unlikely to significantly alter that agreement, Holmes said.
“I can't imagine a scenario where Harry is called back into this,” he said.
“Not maybe because I'm not willing to do it, but because that relationship is very fractured right now.”
Will Harry return to Britain?
Harry, who has had a strained relationship with both his father and brother over the past year, met the king on Tuesday.
It's unclear how long Harry's entire visit will last, but Holmes noted that reports indicated the meeting with the king was very brief.
Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, sitting down for their explosive 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey. Reuters Photo
“Harry flew from Los Angeles, it's a long trip to have a meeting.” 45 minutes“Holmes said.
“I think you can read the tea leaves a little there.”
How will this affect Carlos' relationship with Harry?
Some, such as the British magazine The Spectator, have argued that “now is the time for Harry to reconcile with King Charles.”
But the worrying evolution of health is not a magic solution for problematic relationships.
According to Cheryl Fisher, a licensed clinical professional counselor specializing in helping families facing cancer diagnoses, any family that is affected by cancer is going to be affected; the question is how.
“Each family member responds differently to the news,” he says.
“Although grief and anticipatory grief run in the family, they are also individual: each person goes through their own process,” she explains.
“In the case of the royal family, we have the patriarch and his role, the expectations, and then the rest of the family, thinking: What if he can't perform his duties? What happens?”
Would Harry live with his father again?
“I don't think that will happen,” Holmes said.
“Even if Harry wanted to, there's been no sign from the royal family that that's what they're asking of him or that's what they wanted from him.”
How serious is it?
Although Buckingham Palace has not provided specific data on the type or stage of the king's cancer, its comments about the “benign” prostate problem that Charles suffered earlier this month may indicate that the cancer diagnosis is, on the contrary. , More serious.
“The royal family considers health matters to be private, and there is a long history of health matters remaining private until after their death,” Holmes said.
“It's not a given that they will share this information with the public, so the fact that the palace has issued a statement sharing this is a big deal for the royal family.”
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