As He Prepares to Return to Royal Duty Tomorrow After Nearly A Month Away, Prince William Is Struggling with “Immense” Pressure, Reports Say

“There’s a lot at stake, and he does need support.”

Prince William, Prince of Wales, president of Bafta attends the Bafta Film Awards 2024 at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre on February 18, 2024 in London, England.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

After nearly a month away, Prince William is slated to return to royal duty tomorrow, one day after his children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis returned to Lambrook School following their Easter break. The Prince and Princess of Wales, their three children, and Kate’s mother Carole Middleton have reportedly spent the better part of this month at their country home, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk, following Kate’s March 22 announcement that she had been diagnosed with cancer.

Prince William and Kate Middleton

William will return to work tomorrow, April 18, after a month away spent looking after his wife as she undergoes cancer treatment.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In a statement to NBC News, Kensington Palace said that William will be in West London and the adjacent county of Surrey tomorrow to highlight the work of community and environmental impact organizations in the area. William will begin the day in Sunbury-on-Thames to see how a food charity called Surplus to Supper delivers, sorts, and repackages unused food to community groups, and soon after, he will visit a youth center in West London that receives regular deliveries of the surplus food and distributes the items to people in need, Us Weekly reports.

Though William may have been away from work, “It’s been stressful,” a source told Us Weekly about William caring for Kate and his three kids during this tumultuous time for the family. “William feels a profound sense of duty to uphold the monarchy’s stability and inspire confidence in the public that everything will be okay. It’s an immense responsibility.” 

Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis

The Wales family of five, along with Carole Middleton, retreated to their country home, Anmer Hall, for much of the kids' long Easter break from school.

(Image credit: Getty/The Prince and Princess of Wales/Matt Porteous)

In addition to Kate’s cancer diagnosis, William’s father, King Charles, is also battling a form of cancer that is still undisclosed to the public. While William has put on a brave face publicly, a source told Us Weekly that William, naturally, feels “helpless and scared” with his wife’s diagnosis and has been asking other members of the royal family to fill in for him as far as royal duties go so he is able to be more present at home.

“He’s got young children, a sick wife and a sick dad, and memories of losing his mom [Princess Diana] early,” royal biographer Dr. Tessa Dunlop said. “There’s a lot at stake, and he does need support.”

In the aftermath of the one-two punch of Charles’ and Kate’s cancer diagnoses, William “shut down for a couple of days,” a source speaking to Us Weekly said. “He canceled all meetings and spent time with Kate. Then he picked himself back up again, because he knew it was up to him to be strong for the whole family.” 

Prince William, Prince of Wales and Prince George of Wales look on during the UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/24 Quarter-final first leg match between Aston Villa and Lille OSC at Villa Park on April 11, 2024 in Birmingham, England.

William did step out with George to attend an Aston Villa soccer match last week; he also dipped into a pub in Norfolk with his mother-in-law, Carole.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

William has been seen out recently at a pub in Norfolk with his mother-in-law, Carole, and at a soccer game with his eldest, George. At home at Adelaide Cottage, he is trying to keep a sense of stability, and “he helps the kids with homework and reads to them at night,” they said, “little things to make life more normal for them.”

As for his marriage, William and Kate—who will celebrate their thirteenth wedding anniversary on April 29—are closer than ever. “Behind the scenes, they’re in solidarity,” they said. “William’s been there for Kate in every way.” Kate, for her part, has been handling this season of her life “well,” they added, and is engaging in activities to lift her spirits “like walks and getting out more.”

Britain's Prince William, Prince of Wales leaves the stage after delivering a speech during the London Air Ambulance Charity Gala Dinner at The OWO on February 7, 2024 in London, England

William no doubt feels as though he has the weight of the world on his shoulders right now.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

As William returns to work, the publication reports that those around the Prince of Wales are giving him time to process all that’s going on in his life right now. “Around the Palace, he looks tense,” they said. “He clearly has a lot on his mind. The Palace is backing off and giving him space.”

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.