Prince William and Princess Kate Feel “Intense Anxiety” at the Prospect of Taking the Throne, Tina Brown Says

King Charles’ cancer diagnosis earlier this year put William and Kate “in frightening proximity” to becoming King and Queen, according to Brown.

Prince William and Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As King Charles undergoes treatment for an undisclosed type of cancer (undisclosed to the public, anyway), his prognosis seems to be positive from all accounts heard heretofore. That said, the diagnosis of cancer at all is jarring, and, at 73 years old in September 2022, Charles already had a much later start at beginning his reign than his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth, who took the throne at the tender age of 25 years old.

Queen Elizabeth, King Charles

Even in perfect health, King Charles will never have the length of reign that his mother Queen Elizabeth did.

(Image credit: Getty)

Charles had perhaps the world’s longest apprenticeship, sitting in the second in command position for nearly 74 years—the longest-serving Prince of Wales of all time. Unless Charles somehow turns into Superman, even in perfect health he won’t enjoy the 70-year reign his mother did. (If Charles celebrated a Platinum Jubilee—marking 70 years on the throne, as Her late Majesty did in June 2022—he would be 143 years old.) Prince William always knew he wouldn’t get 73 years to prepare to become king after becoming Prince of Wales, but his father’s health news no doubt made him wonder if the prospect of taking the throne might happen far sooner than he’d anticipated. 

Prince William and Kate Middleton

The Prince and Princess of Wales are reportedly feeling anxiety at the thought of becoming King and Queen far sooner than they anticipated.

(Image credit: Getty)

Both the Prince and Princess of Wales feel “intense anxiety” at becoming King and Queen amid Charles’ cancer journey, royal author Tina Brown said, per The Mirror. (Unfortunately, Kate, too, is battling cancer, announcing her diagnosis publicly on March 22; like her father-in-law, the specific type and stage of the cancer has not been disclosed to the public.)

“News of Charles’ cancer has put William and Catherine in frightening proximity to ascending the throne,” she wrote in The New York Times. “The prospect of it, I am told, is causing them intense anxiety.” 

Prince William, Kate Middleton

Kate, unfortunately, is also undergoing cancer treatment of her own following her diagnosis earlier this year.

(Image credit: Getty)

As Charles continues to undergo treatment—and reportedly plans for a royal visit to Australia later this year—“Some believe, however, that if Charles and Kate were to be permanently sidelined, forced into greatly reduced roles for the longer term by ongoing health challenges, a Prince William regency would look desperately shorthanded,” said Tom Sykes, royal correspondent for The Daily Beast. “Officials are as busy as ever. There is no question of decisions being taken by anyone other than the King.”

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.