bitchy | The Times: The palace is bewildered by Prince William’s refusal to step up

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Roya Nikkhah at the Sunday Times must have gotten full briefings from Kensington Palace AND Buckingham Palace after a particularly chaotic week. Last Monday, BP announced that King Charles had been diagnosed with cancer. On Tuesday, Prince Harry arrived and had a 45-minute meeting with his father. On Wednesday, Prince William stepped out for the first time in weeks and appeared visibly under the influence. KP also briefed the media that William would not be stepping up or stepping out much in the coming months, and he would likely be out through Easter too, just like Kate. Throughout the week, there was an open briefing war between the royal courts as Camilla and William both screamed and raged about Harry and Charles’s meeting. It was a lot. Currently, we’re to believe that Charles and Camilla are staying at Sandringham and now the Waleses are staying at Anmer Hall (on the Sandringham estate). So, that’s the backdrop for this fascinating piece from the Times. Some highlights:

Charles will wave from cars: Charles, 75, will divide his time between Sandringham and Highgrove, and travel privately to London every week for his cancer treatment. Those close to him say “he is keen to be seen”, and will be driven in the state Bentley with its large windows wherever possible when he is in town. He may also release photos and video clips of his weekly audiences with Rishi Sunak, which will take place at Buckingham Palace and which he hopes to continue in person.

William refuses to be deputized: William remains determined to continue to put his family first, with aides making it clear he will not “deputise” for the King, who is fully supportive of his oldest son’s commitment to his family. The official palace line is that “the Prince of Wales may step in for His Majesty, nothing is scheduled currently, Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace are in constant communication and should the need arise, appropriate arrangements will be made”. But in such radically changed circumstances, will the heir to the throne realistically be able to maintain that stance? The coming weeks and months will test William’s resolve and his “unwavering commitment to duty” that aides often speak of.

Bewilderment in the royal court: Palace sources stress there is “no sense he is being pressurised” to increase his workload, and it is understood Charles has not asked William to pick up a raft of his cancelled engagements. In some royal circles, however, there is a slight sense of bewilderment at William’s determination to so fiercely protect his boundaries when it comes to his diary.

William is frozen with shock: Those close to him say that he is still digesting the shock of his father’s diagnosis so soon after his wife of almost 13 years — his partner since they were both students at the University of St Andrews — having major surgery, while also contemplating what the shifting sands mean for his role and his family’s future. A royal source says: “At times like this, it is a reminder that as well as being the future head of state, he is also a human being. He is processing the news of his father having cancer as a human being. Given the seriousness with which he takes his role, of course it is something he will be thinking about.”

Charles & William will meet in Norfolk: Time in Norfolk will give him space to think and talk things through with the King. It helps that a father and son relationship that was previously tricky, particularly when Charles controlled William’s purse strings for his household which is funded by the Duchy of Cornwall income, has matured in the right direction in recent years. Those who see them together say that the occasional petulance on both sides, though not gone completely, has shifted, and they are much more aligned “on what needs doing and what doesn’t”.

Who will go to the Commonwealth service? The first big set piece where the new royal order will swing into action and things will look different is the annual Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on March 11, which is usually led by the monarch. Charles broke with tradition last year and read out his Commonwealth message at the abbey (the late Queen used to issue a written statement). Camilla, who is expected to attend as the most senior royal, will represent the King and lead the royal family in the procession. Still under discussion is whether Charles will remotely record his Commonwealth message or whether William might read it aloud.

William isn’t skipping a memorial service for his godfather: William is also expected to attend a memorial service later this month in London for his late godfather and the King’s great friend, King Constantine of Greece, though if Camilla decides to attend, once again, she would be officially representing Charles.

Oh, now William expects to go back to work in late February? After the week-long holiday, William will be back to his regular diary of engagements, though his attendance at the Baftas on the final night of his children’s half-term — February 18 — will depend on how things are at home. “After spending half-term with the children, you can expect to see the Prince of Wales return to work in a more normal way, in the knowledge that he will still be supporting his wife and still be doing the school run and pick-ups,” a royal source said.

William doesn’t want to overshadow his father: He is also mindful of not being seen to step prematurely into Charles’s shoes, an issue he and Catherine have long been conscious of, particularly with their media coverage which historically, before Charles and Camilla were King and Queen, tended to be more positive, an issue that Charles has long been sensitive about. A friend of William’s said: “He’s very attuned to the fact that he doesn’t want to tread on any toes — the King is still the King.”

All evidence to the contrary: While a close friend of William’s has said he is “fully accepting of doing his duty and fulfilling what the public expect of him, without paying too much attention to what he would like to have done in another world,” he has never been a hurry on the path to kingship.

[From The Times]

There are several mentions of William resisting “being swallowed whole by duty,” as if asking him to do three events a week while his dad has cancer is the most disgusting and crass thing anyone would have suggested. Like, everyone is well aware that William is deeply lazy, incapable and unprepared. From the look of it, Charles wants his heir nowhere near state business or anything important. Instead of just leaning into his severe limitations and just doing a handful of bread-and-butter events a week, William is now paralyzed with a well-earned sense of imposter syndrome. He isn’t even trying to play catch up or working behind-the-scenes to become more prepared, should the worst happen. All he’s doing is hiding and day-drinking (by the looks of it). Also: William skipped his godfather’s Athens funeral and it would be bonkers if he skipped the London memorial for King Constantine. But no BAFTAs! LOL.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Instar.


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