Prince William turns 42! Inside his 'cruel wake-up call' as King Charles makes 'surprising move'

Birthdays are a time for reflection and celebration, and there's no doubt Prince William is marking his 42nd birthday with his nearest and dearest. The future King's special day falls on 21 June and this year he has a "great deal to reflect on", claims royal expert Jennie Bond.

The Prince of Wales has been dealing with a lot behind the scenes in recent months. His wife Kate, 42, underwent abdominal surgery in January and then announced she is undergoing treatment for cancer, while William's father, King Charles, 75, is also being treated for an undisclosed form of cancer.

While being a rock for his wife and their three children - Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, nine, and Prince Louis, six - William has also had to keep up with Royal duties and support his father. This has all come as a "difficult wake-up call" to the dad-of-three, claims Jennie, with his life "cruelly unsettled" over recent months.

Prince William
Prince William's birthday falls on 21 June -Credit:Samir Hussein/WireImage
A photo of William and his three children jumping in the air and holding hands, taken by Kate last month, was released on his birthday
A photo of William and his three children jumping in the air and holding hands, taken by Kate last month, was released on his birthday -Credit:PA

"Birthdays can so often be a time to take stock, and William has a great deal to reflect on this year. At 42, he has had a difficult wake-up call that has cruelly unsettled the life he was happily enjoying.

"In the past few months he has had to be the rock that has steadied his wife through her illness and treatment, the dad who comforts and protects his children, and the son who has dutifully stood in for his father as the King faces his own health problems," the former BBC Royal correspondent exclusively told OK!.

Kate, William, Prince Louis, Prince George, Princess Charlotte
William with wife Kate and their children, George, Charlotte and Louis -Credit:2024 Getty Images

On Father's Day, a special photograph of William and his three children was shared to the Prince and Princess of Wales' joint social media account. The snap showed the foursome staring out at the sea together with their arms wrapped around one another.

Jennie notes that this picture is a "reminder" of how the family have "faced such a difficult time together" and shows how they are a close-knit family unit. She explained: "The picture of William and his three children, arms interlinked, staring at the sea in their happy place….Norfolk…is a poignant reminder of how they have faced such a difficult time together: a tight family unit."

The Prince of Wales is also no doubt thinking about his future role as King, following his father's health woes. Jennie added: "And William has had to stare at his own destiny rather sooner than he might have contemplated: the King is by all accounts doing well, but his illness must have concentrated William’s mind on his own future as King…which I am sure he still hopes is a good few years away."

Charles and William appear to be growing closer as they support one another, with the monarch being understanding about William needing to take time to support Kate and their children. The Prince has been by Kate's side as she continues to recover.

Royal expert Jennie continued: "William and Charles seem to be growing ever closer, and he is undoubtedly grateful that his father has shown such understanding about William spending as much time as possible with his wife and family while Catherine recovers."

King Charles and Prince William
A photograph of William and his three children was shared on Father's Day

"We are so used to the old idea that duty must always come first. Well, perhaps it shouldn’t. There must be times when care and compassion for your family take precedence . And the King has recognised this. Good for him! And good for William!"

She adds: "So I think, at 42, we see a Prince who has had to face some daunting life challenges, and has shown he has the maturity to do so…with his wife and family firmly at the very centre of his universe."