Prince William under pressure as the heaviest of responsibilities start to take toll

t wasn’t supposed to be like this. When his father became King Charles III on 8 September 2022, his elder son William became his wingman as Prince of Wales – but always well behind, giving himself time with his young family before assuming the role of monarch years into the future.

That all changed on January 17 when it was announced that William’s wife, Kate, the Princess of Wales, would be going into the world-famous London Clinic for abdominal surgery and then, 90 minutes later, that the King himself would be admitted to the same hospital for treatment for an enlarged prostate.

That day of double royal shocks thrust Prince William into a far more prominent role, deputising for his father on some occasions while at the same time caring for his wife who was kept in hospital for 13 nights, the clearest possible indication that this was no minor matter although the diagnosis remains private to the Princess, as is only right and proper.

With so much on his mind, not to mention the care of three children, Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5, it would be surprising if Prince William were not showing signs of the extra burdens placed upon him by circumstances that could not be foreseen.

And things only became worse when it was disclosed that during the King’s hospital treatment, cancer had been discovered which would require protracted treatment and an abandonment of all engagements that would require the monarch to meet people outside his immediate circle, the avoidance of infection being vitally important during cancer care.

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Princess Kate at The Christmas Morning Service© Getty

This is the background of Prince William’s pulling out of the Memorial Service for the late King Constantine II of Greece at St. George’s Chapel today.

“Personal reasons” was the explanation for his absence put forward by his private office at Kensington Palace.

Unnamed sources offered the view that these reasons were not connected to the Princess of Wales whose recovery, it has been reported, is continuing well.

From a very early age, Prince William knew that one day he was very likely to be king. What he could not have foreseen was that the heaviest responsibilities would start to rest upon his shoulders so soon into the reign of his father.

Now the spotlight is even more intense, the focus sharper.

Since both his wife and father went into hospital, the Prince has been flying solo, smiling and schmoozing with the stars at the BAFTA awards on Sunday and delivering a good joke or two at a fund-raising dinner for the Air Ambulance, for which he was a pilot, with Tom Cruise his wingman.

The Prince was the godson and second cousin of King Constantine, who was never referred to by the royal family as “ex-King” of the Hellenes, even though his monarchy was overthrown by a military junta decades before he died last year aged 82.

The Royal Family was out in force for the Memorial Service, with Queen Camilla there for her husband, as King Charles also could not attend.

The Duke of York and Sarah, Duchess of York were also there, one of the diminishing number of royal occasions where their presence is accepted and even welcomed as this was essentially a family affair.

William would have been missed but, as he had explained his absence to Constantine’s widow and family, readily forgiven.

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