King Charles and Prince William Once Had a “Sense of Rivalry,” But “Tricky Family Issues” Have Reportedly Brought Them Closer Together Than Ever

Once in competition with his son for the public’s favor, the King now sees William as a “useful ally,” both in matters inside the royal family and in discharging diplomatic duties.

King Charles and Prince William
(Image credit: Getty Images)

King Charles and Prince William are perhaps closer than they’ve ever been before in the present day, but their past wasn’t always perfectly smooth sailing: “If there was ever a green-eyed monster or a sense of rivalry between the two, that is a chapter of the past,” a friend of the King’s told The Sunday Times. “The King sees his son as a useful ally on family matters, and, increasingly, in discharging the duties of nation and state. When you are monarch, you’re not counting the column inches. You’re thinking about performing your role for your country, not just as King Charles but as ‘the family.’”

It’s true—The Daily Beast reports that William is aware that “he’s way more popular in opinion polls than his dad” (which likely used to irk the King in the past) but, according to The Sunday Times, William is conscious of not “queering his father’s pitch,” or overshadowing him in deference to his role as the monarch (and he, William, the heir to the throne). 

King Charles and Prince William

There was once a rivalry between father and son over popularity (particularly that William's exceeded his father's), but that has been put aside.

(Image credit: Getty)

“He [William] very much wants to support his father,” a source close to William told The Sunday Times. “That isn’t something new, but of course with everything the King is going through with his treatment, he will continue to support him as much as he can.” For example, William was there to support and even step in at points for his father commemorating the 80th anniversary of D-Day last week in Normandy, France, and the Prince of Wales will continue to do so throughout the summer—like at the Garter service at St. George’s Chapel on June 17, Royal Ascot later that week, and, by the end of the month, a state visit by the Emperor and Empress of Japan on June 25. William will also ride behind his father’s carriage in a modified review of the troops during Trooping the Colour this upcoming Saturday, June 15.

In addition to Charles’ shocking cancer diagnosis earlier this year (for which he is still receiving treatment), William and his father have bonded over what a source speaking to The Sunday Times calls “tricky family issues”—namely Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s step back as working royals in 2020 and Prince Andrew’s sexual assault allegations and association with the late Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender. The King’s tendency to consult William on such issues “has helped to ease the anxieties of the past and boost their personal and working relationships,” Tim Teeman of The Daily Beast wrote. 

King Charles III and Prince William

Thanks to Charles' cancer diagnosis this year and "tricky family issues" surrounding Harry and Andrew, the duo are now closer than ever.

(Image credit: Getty)

The Daily Mail seconds this, writing that any sense of rivalry between Charles and William are now behind them, and that issues with Harry and Andrew have brought the two men closer. “Charles might once have disliked allowing his son to be more visible in public—but with cancer treatment and the ever-smaller number of working royals to hand, he has been happy to change his thinking,” the outlet writes, later adding “With William there to serve as a sounding board, and with his [Charles’] cancer treatment continuing, it is of little surprise that the Prince of Wales is playing a larger part in senior royal duties on behalf of and alongside his father.”

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.