Home » Prince William Struggles With ‘Immense’ Pressure as Royals Fight Cancer

Prince William Struggles With ‘Immense’ Pressure as Royals Fight Cancer

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Finally, the royal family had something to smile about. On Thursday,
April 11, Prince William and his 10-year-old son, Prince George, attended a soccer match at Villa Park stadium in Birmingham to cheer on their favorite team, Aston Villa. The father-son duo stood and clapped throughout the game, which ended with a 2–1 Aston Villa victory.

It was a well-deserved reprieve for William. In the past few months, the stoic future king has had to contend with an onslaught of personal and professional hardships after both his wife, Princess Kate Middleton, and his father, King Charles III, were diagnosed with cancer within weeks of each other. With two of the most high-profile royals sidelined, William, 41, has been pulling triple duty, filling in for Kate and Charles during official appearances while also keeping things going at home with George and his younger siblings, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5, as their mom goes through preventive chemotherapy.

There’s a lot on his plate. “It’s been stressful,” a source exclusively shares in the latest issue of Us Weekly. “William feels a profound sense of duty to uphold the monarchy’s stability and inspire confidence in the public that everything will be OK. It’s an immense responsibility.”

It’s no secret the monarchy is currently in crisis. Since taking the throne after the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022, Charles, 75, has seen his plan to slim down the monarchy backfire. According to royal historian Gareth Russell, “It was always anticipated that Charles would have three working siblings and two working children and their wives, and that would be a sustainable footing.”

Andrew Parsons/Kensington Palace via Getty Images

There are gaping holes in what was once a robust royal lineup. Prince Harry, 39, and his wife, Meghan Markle, 42, famously fled the U.K. — and their royal duties — to start a new life in Montecito, California, in 2020; in 2022, Charles’ disgraced younger brother, Prince Andrew, 64, was stripped of his military titles and patronages after he was sued by a woman claiming he sexually assaulted her in the early 2000s. (The new Netflix film Scoop, starring Gillian Anderson, covers Andrew’s disastrous 2019 BBC interview in which he casually downplayed his friendship with late convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.)

“Now you have the king and the Princess of Wales battling cancer at the same time,” Russell notes to Us, “and while it’s no one’s fault, it does show the cracks.”

The media frenzy surrounding 42-year-old Kate’s health was a low point for all. The mom of three put an end to wild conspiracy theories and speculation over her whereabouts on March 22 when she released a video revealing her cancer diagnosis. “Kate had planned to talk about it,” says the first source. “She and William were hoping people would respect her privacy until she felt comfortable enough to discuss it.”

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

No one envies William’s position. “He’s got young children, a sick wife and a sick dad, and memories of losing his mom [Princess Diana] early,” royal biographer Tessa Dunlop tells Us. “There’s a lot at stake, and he does need support.”

If anyone can handle it, it’s the former air ambulance pilot. “After William’s dad and Kate’s diagnoses, he shut down for a couple of days,” a second source shares with Us. “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.” At home at Adelaide Cottage, he’s trying to keep up a sense of stability. “He helps the kids with homework and reads to them at night,” explains the source, “little things to make life more normal for them.”

BBC STUDIOS

He and Kate are closer than ever. “Behind the scenes, they’re in solidarity,” says the first source, noting that the family of five went away on a trip during the kids’ break from school. “William’s been there for Kate in every way.” Kate, for her part, has been handling things “well,” adds the source, and engaging in activities to lift her spirits, “like walks and getting out more.”

People around William are giving him time to process things. “Around the palace, he looks tense,” says the second source. “He clearly has a lot on his mind. The palace is backing off and giving him space.”

For more on Prince William and how he is coping with the added stress, watch the video above and pick up the latest issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now.

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