In Terms of Royal Family Power Dynamics, Prince William Has Reportedly Emerged as the Family Disciplinarian After Prince Philip’s Death Three Years Ago

“Now William is calling the shots.”

Prince Philip and Prince William
(Image credit: Getty Images)

For a great many years, Prince Philip was the power behind the throne; though his wife, Queen Elizabeth, was in charge—and Philip walked two steps behind her, per protocol—Philip often ran the operational core of the Firm, and was the disciplinarian of the family, as well. Philip died at 99 years old in April 2021, just 17 months before his wife of 73 years, Her late Majesty, passed away in September 2022 at age 96.

Now, The Daily Beast reports, it’s not Philip’s eldest son, King Charles—or any of his four children, apparently—that has taken the mantle as the family disciplinarian. Instead, it’s Prince William who has replaced his grandfather in that role and is “calling the shots,” a source speaking to the outlet said. 

Prince Philip and Prince William

William has apparently replaced his late grandfather as the family disciplinarian after the late Duke of Edinburgh passed away in April 2021.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Daily Express reports that William “now takes the lead on big decisions and move[s] to protect loved ones with the final say,” the outlet writes.

According to The Daily Beast’s source, “Philip ruled the family with a rod of iron, and you saw when he died, that discipline collapsed,” they said. “Now William is calling the shots when it comes to family discipline.”

The Daily Express reports that “It was said he [Philip] didn’t have a soft side—at least not seen in public.” According to royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith, the late Queen “relied increasingly on her husband to make the major family decisions, and she depended on the nannies to supervise daily lives.” Think of it this way: as The Daily Express aptly put it, “Prince Philip ran the Royal Household while Queen Elizabeth ran the nation.”  

Queen Elizabeth Prince Philip

The couple were married for over 73 years before his death three years ago at age 99.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In the aforementioned piece from The Daily Beast, the outlet broke down power dynamics within the royal family, and the publication was quick to point out that “William’s rise does not mean the King is a lame duck,” the outlet writes. “He is still an immensely powerful figure whose word is (sometimes literally) law, who can get anyone in the world on the phone with a click of his fingers.” After announcing his cancer diagnosis in February and returning to public duty on April 30, “His recent return to public work has been nothing short of miraculous, given that he is suffering from cancer and undergoing treatment for the disease, and his surging popularity figures tell their own story,” the publication reports.

King Charles and Kate Middleton

The King and the Princess of Wales are also, perhaps not surprisingly, extremely powerful figures within the royal family and the Royal Household.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

As for William’s wife, the Princess of Wales, who, too, announced her cancer diagnosis earlier this year? “Kate is much more than a mere show pony,” The Daily Beast writes. “For example, her work on early childhood—which she has said she wants to be her signature issue—is already affecting government policy and thinking.”

Kate made a triumphant return to public life herself on June 15, after six months away as she battled her health scare this year. It is unknown when she’ll be back full-time, but Wimbledon organizers are hopeful that she’ll make an appearance at the fabled tennis tournament before it wraps up in two weeks’ time. 

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.