The Prince of Wales is the heir to the throne and a Counsellor of State
Prince William is not expected to take on any more royal responsibilities when his father King Charles heads to the hospital next week.
Buckingham Palace announced on Wednesday that the King will have a "corrective procedure" for an enlarged prostate.
Prince William was seen leaving The London Clinic on Thursday, where Kate Middleton had "planned abdominal surgery" earlier this week.
Buckingham Palace announced the news about the King’s health in a statement on Wednesday, which mentioned that the King’s public engagements “will be postponed for a short period of recuperation.” However, a royal source tells PEOPLE that King Charles will be capable of fulfilling his constitutional requirements and duties during this time.
Prince William, 41, is the Prince of Wales, heir to the throne, a Counsellor of State and the regent of his father’s reign. The regent is the heir to the throne unless they have not yet turned 18, the House of Commons Library report on Regency and Counsellors of State outlines.
“In a regency, a ‘regent’ is appointed to act on the monarch’s behalf,” it states. “A regency applies if a monarch succeeds to the throne before the age of 18, or if a monarch becomes permanently incapacitated due to ‘infirmity of mind or body.’ ”
While a regent would be instated permanently, the British sovereign can also call on their Counsellors of State. The Counsellors of State can act on the monarch’s behalf through the Letters Patent in the event of temporary incapacity or absence from the U.K.
The Counsellor of State position typically belongs to the sovereign's spouse, followed by the first four people in the line of succession over the age of 21. Queen Camilla, Prince William, Prince Harry, Prince Andrew and Princess Beatrice were the Counsellors of State before Princess Anne and Prince Edward were added last year through the Counsellors of State Act 2022. The BBC reported that the bill was “fast-tracked” through Parliament to resolve the potential for an “awkward constitutional problem” after King Charles’ accession, as Prince Andrew and Prince Harry are no longer working royals.
It’s unlikely that Prince William or any other royal family members will need to step up in any special way when King Charles seeks treatment next week.
“In common with thousands of men each year, The King has sought treatment for an enlarged prostate. His Majesty's condition is benign and he will attend hospital next week for a corrective procedure,” said the palace statement. “The King’s public engagements will be postponed for a short period of recuperation.”
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"He's fine, thank you very much. Looking forward to getting back to work," Queen Camilla said during a stop at the Aberdeen Art Gallery in Scotland when someone asked how the King was.
The news on King Charles’ prostate treatment was announced shortly after Kensington Palace shared that Kate Middleton had "planned abdominal surgery" at The London Clinic on Tuesday. Kensington Palace said that the princess is expected to remain in hospital for 10 to 14 days before heading home to recover and is “unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter." PEOPLE understands that the issue is non-cancerous and that William will be there to support his wife during this time.
On Thursday, Prince William was seen leaving the private London Clinic around 12:35 p.m. local time.
“He is understood to be planning to spend as much time as possible with the Princess as she recuperates, balancing daytime visits with caring for their three children at home in Windsor,” The Telegraph reported on Thursday. “The Prince drove himself to the hospital and is expected to pick his children up from school later today as usual.”
The Prince and Princess of Wales share Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5, and the Kensington Palace statement about Princess Kate said that she wants to “maintain as much normality for her children as possible” during this time.
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