First Public Statement From Prince William On His Wife And Father, King Charles

LONDON, Feb 7 (Reuters) – Prince William expressed his gratitude to the British public for their supportive messages concerning his wife Kate's recent surgery and his father King Charles's cancer diagnosis, as he resumed his official duties on Wednesday.

As William took a prominent role among the royals, his younger brother Prince Harry, who has grown estranged from the family, was set to return to the United States following a brief visit to see their father.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you ... for the kind messages of support for Catherine and for my father, especially in recent days. It means a great deal to us all," said William, 41, the Prince of Wales.

"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," he remarked at a gala dinner for London's Air Ambulance Charity, attended by guests including Hollywood actor Tom Cruise.

The event marked the heir to the throne's second official public appearance on Wednesday, following a break from duties to care for his three children after Kate, 42, underwent planned abdominal surgery on Jan. 16 and spent two weeks recovering in the hospital.

Since then, his father has received treatment at the same hospital for an enlarged prostate. Buckingham Palace announced on Monday that subsequent tests on the 75-year-old monarch revealed a form of cancer.

With the king stepping back from public duties for outpatient treatment and Kate not expected to resume engagements until after Easter, the responsibility of representing the monarchy falls on the remaining royals, particularly William and Charles's wife, Queen Camilla.

Item 1 of 6: Britain's Prince William, Prince of Wales, shares a light-hearted moment with U.S. actor Tom Cruise at the London Air Ambulance Charity Gala Dinner held at The OWO in central London, Britain, on February 7, 2024.

Britain’s Prince William, Prince of Wales, reacts as he talks with U.S. actor Tom Cruise at the London Air Ambulance Charity Gala Dinner at The OWO, in central London, Britain, on February 7, 2024.

Royal author Robert Hardman noted that William had already begun assuming significant state duties towards the end of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, as she faced mobility issues.


"In that regard, it’s not that different but obviously there’s the burden of expectation,” Hardman told Reuters. “On many occasions, he will have to stand in, he’ll be sort of quasi head of state in much the same way that Prince Charles was when the queen was infirm."

On Tuesday, the king traveled with Camilla to Sandringham House, his home in eastern England, after a brief meeting of about 30 minutes with his son Harry, who had flown in to see his father after learning of the cancer diagnosis.

Harry, 39, has had limited communication with many of the Windsors following his criticism of the monarchy since stepping down from royal duties nearly four years ago.

A royal source indicated that there were no plans for Harry to see his elder brother William during his visit to Britain. After approximately 24 hours in the country, Harry was seen at Heathrow Airport, expected to fly back to California, where he now resides with his wife Meghan and their two children.

Despite the diagnosis, Charles intends to continue much of his private work as monarch and handle state papers. He was scheduled to speak with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak by phone on Wednesday, according to Sunak’s spokesman.

Buckingham Palace has not disclosed details of the condition other than confirming it is not prostate cancer but stated that the king remains "wholly positive" and looks forward to resuming public duties as soon as possible.

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