Will Prince William take on more duties in light of King Charles’ cancer diagnosis?

The Weekly's Royal Correspondent weighs in...

By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard that King Charles III has sadly been diagnosed with cancer. The news hit headlines around the world and provoked a genuine outpouring of support for His Majesty.

And while it’s been confirmed that it was caught early and His Majesty is undertaking the appropriate treatment, Charles will be taking a step back from public engagements for the time being… So what does this mean for the other members of the British Royal Family?

“It is likely that The Prince of Wales will be taking on more engagements to pick up the shortfall in his father’s absence,” says The Weekly’s Royal Correspondent Juliet Rieden.

“Prince William is Heir Apparent and together with Queen Camilla the closest supports for the King at this time.

order of succession: queen camilla, king charles, prince william and princess catherine

“William has just returned from three weeks away from public engagements while his wife Princess Catherine underwent abdominal surgery. She is now recuperating at home until Easter and while William will still be very hands on looking after their three children – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis – he will need to balance that with the increased workload the coming months will no doubt bring,” notes Juliet.

On Wednesday, February 7, Prince William carried out one of his regular duties, an investiture at Windsor Castle, and in the evening attended the London Air Ambulance Charity Gala Dinner in London along with special guest – and fellow helicopter pilot – Hollywood star Tom Cruise.

In the speech he gave at the gala, Prince William talked candidly about his family’s current health issues.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you, also, for the kind messages of support for Catherine and for my father, especially in recent days. It means a great deal to us all.

“It’s fair to say the past few weeks have had a rather ‘medical’ focus. So I thought I’d come to an air ambulance function to get away from it all,” he quipped.

prince william and tom cruise

“I understand The Prince of Wales is in constant communication with his father,” says Juliet. “He is ready to help and step up.”

Queen Camilla is also likely to undertake additional duties on behalf of her husband; it has been confirmed she will resume her full programme of public engagements despite Charles’ diagnosis.

Of course, we hope that Charles makes a full recovery, and the monarch is very positive about his treatment and keen to get back to work as soon as possible.

But this shock diagnosis has piqued public interest in who will take over one day in the unlikely event of abdication should the King be unable to perform his duties.

What is the current royal order of succession?

  1. Prince William, the Prince of Wales, firstborn son of current sovereign King Charles III.
  2. Prince George of Wales, William’s firstborn.
  3. Princess Charlotte of Wales, William’s second-born.
  4. Prince Louis of Wales, William’s third-born.
  5. Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, second-born son of current sovereign King Charles III.
  6. Prince Archie of Sussex, Harry’s firstborn.
  7. Princess Lilibet of Sussex, Harry’s second-born.
  8. Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, second-born son (third-born child) of the previous sovereign, the late Queen Elizabeth II.
  9. Princess Beatrice, Mrs. Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, Andrew’s firstborn.
  10. Miss Sienna Mapelli Mozzi, Beatrice’s firstborn.
  11. Princess Eugenie, Mrs. Jack Brooksbank, Andrew’s second-born.
  12. Master August Brooksbank, Eugenie’s firstborn.
  13. Master Ernest Brooksbank, Eugenie’s second-born.
  14. Prince Edward, The Duke of Edinburgh, third-born son (fourth-born child) of the previous sovereign, the late Queen Elizabeth II.
  15. James, Earl of Wessex, Edward’s firstborn son (second-born child).
  16. Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, Edward’s firstborn.
  17. Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, second-born child of the previous sovereign, the late Queen Elizabeth II.
  18. Mr. Peter Phillips, Anne’s firstborn.
  19. Miss Savannah Phillips, Peter’s firstborn.
  20. Miss Isla Phillips, Peter’s second-born.
  21. Mrs. Zara Tindall, Anne’s second-born.
  22. Miss Mia Tindall, Zara’s firstborn.
  23. Miss Lena Tindall, Zara’s second-born.
  24. Master Lucas Tindall, Zara’s third-born.
order of succession: princess anne

Why is Princess Anne not in the line of succession?

Princess Anne is in the line of succession. As of 2024, she’s 17th in line to the throne.

Is Camilla in the line of succession?

Queen Camilla is not in the line of succession; neither is Princess Catherine or Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex. This is because they married into the royal family rather than being born into the royal family.

Why is Edward before Anne in succession?

You’ll notice that both of Princess Anne’s younger brothers, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, are ahead of her in the line of succession.

This is because prior to 2013, older sisters born into the royal family were moved down in the order of succession if their parents gave birth to a younger son.

order of succession: princess charlotte and prince louis

However, this is no longer the case, thanks to the Succession to the Crown Act 2013. The legislation passed on April 25, 2013 and decreed that succession to the Crown would no longer depend on gender.

Anne still is below her brothers though because the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 only affects royals who were born after October 28, 2011.

You’ll see that Prince Edward’s son James is higher in the line of succession than his older sister Louise, as they were both born before 2011.

But Princess Charlotte made history in 2018 when her younger brother Louis was born; she was the first female in the royal family who’s spot in the line of succession wasn’t affected by the arrival of a little brother.

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