Prince William Reacts to the Queen’s Death at 96

"My grandmother famously said that grief was the price we pay for love."

Prince William and Queen Elizabeth
(Image credit: Getty)

Earlier this week, it was a happy occasion for the then Cambridges—Prince William and Kate Middleton accompanied children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis to a preview day at their new school, Lambrook, on Wednesday.

Thursday, however, was one of the most somber days of every member of the royal family’s lives: Her Majesty died at 96, and today, William released a statement honoring a woman who was not just a Queen, but a grandmother and a great-grandmother.

"On Thursday, the world lost an extraordinary leader, whose commitment to the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth was absolute," he wrote on he and wife Kate's newly-minted @princeandprincessofwales Instagram. "So much will be said in the days ahead about the meaning of her historic reign. I, however, have lost a grandmother. And while I will grieve her loss, I also feel incredibly grateful. I have had the benefit of The Queen's wisdom and reassurance into my fifth decade."

On Thursday, William rushed to Balmoral to be by his grandmother’s side as Kate stayed behind in Windsor for George, Charlotte, and Louis’ first day of school. William joined his father, King Charles III, his brother, Prince Harry, and all of Her Majesty’s children at the Queen's Scottish summer retreat.

"My wife has had 20 years of her guidance and support," William's statement continued. "My three children have got to spend holidays with her and create memories that will last their whole lives."

With the death of the Queen, William is now first in line to the throne, directly behind his father, Charles, who is now king.

"She was by my side at my happiest moments," his statement continued. "And she was by my side during the saddest days of my life. I knew this day would come, but it will be some time before the reality of life without Grannie will truly feel real. I thank her for the kindness she showed my family and me. And I thank her on behalf of my generation for providing an example of service and dignity in public life that was from a different age, but always relevant to us all."

Since her death Thursday, William and Kate have been given the new titles Prince and Princess of Wales and Duke and Duchess of Cornwall.

"My grandmother famously said that grief was the price we pay for love," William's statement concluded. "All of the sadness we will feel in the coming weeks will be testament to the love we felt for our extraordinary Queen. I will honour her memory by supporting my father, The King, in every way I can."

Rachel Burchfield
Contributing Royal Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the royal editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.