How Prince William, Queen Camilla and More Royals Will Step Up Amid King Charles' Cancer Treatment

After Buckingham Palace announced that King Charles III has been diagnosed with cancer, royal correspondent Sharon Carpenter explained to E! News how members of the royal family could help him out.

By Natalie Finn, Elyse Dupre Feb 06, 2024 6:06 PMTags
Watch: King Charles III's Cancer Diagnosis: Everything We Know

King Charles III's family members may find their schedules royally packed amid his cancer battle

With Kate Middleton already sidelined due to her January abdominal surgery and Charles postponing his public engagements amid his treatment, "This is a tough time," royal correspondent Sharon Carpenter told E! News in an exclusive interview, "and the senior working members of the royal family have been left quite shorthanded."

Along with Charles and Kate's current health issues, it's been years since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped back as senior royals and Prince Andrew bowed out of his duties due to his former association with Jeffrey Epstein.

As a result, the king may need to turn to other family members to help handle certain responsibilities during his treatment.

"We expect to see Prince William, if needed, obviously step up on behalf of his father when it comes to certain engagements," Sharon continued, adding that Queen Camilla is also "going to have a very busy, tight schedule."

King Charles III's Road to the Throne

Among the roles they could take on? Counsellors of State. 

A delegated position, it allows members of the royal family "to take on some duties that only the monarch is able to do at this point in time," Sharon explained.

"If the monarch is unwell, if he's abroad, if he's unable to take on these duties himself, then a Counsellor of State can be appointed to do so on his behalf," she continued. "And that includes granting royal assent to legislation and holding Privy Council meetings. But Buckingham Palace is saying that they don't foresee a situation related to the king's health concerns currently."

UK Press Pool/UK Press via Getty Images

William and Camilla aren't the only ones who can serve in this role with Princess AnnePrince Edward and Princess Beatrice all named as possibilities (And while Harry and Andrew are also on the list, Sharon notes "they likely won't be used.")

Though certain duties may fall on William—he is the heir to the throne, after all—Sharon suspects the royal family will rally together to help lighten the load during this time. 

"I think what we're going to see [is] senior working members of the royal family coming together and probably to a great extent sharing responsibilities so the complete burden doesn't fall on Prince William," she said. "But yeah, it's a tough time for him because also his wife is recovering, he's got three children and he has his own responsibilities as well."

Which is part of the reason Sharon expects Harry to support Charles, too. 

"Not on the working side of things," she clarified. "Who knows what the future holds, though? But we know that Prince Harry has spoken to his father and he is showing support, son to father. And we'd expect nothing less." 

Though she acknowledged Harry and Charles "have not had the tightest relationship in recent times," E! News has learned that Harry is expected to visit his father.

And Camilla will be by Charles' side, too. As Sharon put it, "I don't think any of us expect anything less than Camilla really stepping up, putting her best foot forward and continuing on with duty."

Buckingham Palace announced the king's cancer diagnosis on Feb. 5., days after he underwent a procedure for an enlarged prostate.

"During The King's recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted," the Palace said in a statement. "Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer. His Majesty has today commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties. Throughout this period, His Majesty will continue to undertake State business and official paperwork as usual."

And the Palace noted the monarch is grateful for his medical team's quick intervention. 

"He remains wholly positive about his treatment," the statement added, "and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible." 

To review more royal news from this year, keep reading.

Queen Camilla Attends Royal Maundy Service

The queen consort attended the Royal Maundy Service on March 28 in place of King Charles III, making her the first spouse of the Monarch to continue the ancient tradition.

Kate Middleton Shares Cancer Diagnosis

In a March 22 video message, the Princess of Wales shared that she'd been diagnosed with cancer after undergoing abdominal surgery in January.

"It was thought that my condition was non-cancerous. The surgery was successful," she said before noting that tests after the operation found cancer had been present. "My medical team therefore advised that I should undergo a course of preventative chemotherapy and I am now in the early stages of that treatment."

Kate Middleton Apologizes for Edited Family Photo Controversy

After photo agencies pulled the picture Kensington Palace shared of Kate since having her abdominal surgery on March 10, the Princess of Wales addressed claims the photo was doctored. 

"Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing," she tweeted on March 11. "I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused. I hope everyone celebrating had a very happy Mother's Day. C."

Lady Kitty Spencer Privately Welcomes Baby

Princess Diana's niece celebrated Mother's Day in the U.K. by sharing she and her husband Michael Lewis privately welcomed their first baby.

“It’s the joy of my life to be your mummy, little one. I love you unconditionally," she captioned her March 10 Instagram post. "Happy Mother’s Day to those who celebrate today."

Queen Camilla Takes a Break

After keeping up her full slate of engagements in the wake of her husband's cancer diagnosis, the palace cleared Camilla's schedule.

The Times pointed out March 2 that the 76-year-old didn't have any engagements on her calendar until March 11, when she'd be due at Westminster Abbey to observe Commonwealth Day.

Thomas Kensington Dies at 45

The husband of Lady Gabriella Windsor and ex-boyfriend of Pippa Middleton, was found dead Feb. 25. Days later, a coroner's inquest found that he died by suicide.

King Charles Diagnosed With Cancer

While King Charles III was in the hospital for his benign prostate enlargement procedure, the royal family member was diagnosed with cancer.

"His Majesty has today commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties," Buckingham Palace said Feb. 5. "Throughout this period, His Majesty will continue to undertake State business and official paperwork as usual.The King is grateful to his medical team for their swift intervention, which was made possible thanks to his recent hospital procedure. He remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible."

Sarah Ferguson Is Diagnosed With a Second Type of Cancer

The Duchess of York's rep said in a statement on Jan. 21 that Sarah was recently diagnosed with malignant melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer. Several months prior, she underwent a single mastectomy to treat breast cancer.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark Abdicates the Throne

On Jan. 14, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark made history as she officially abdicated the throne, handing the crown over to her son, now known as King Frederik the 10th

Kate Middleton Is Hospitalized

Kensington Palace announced on Jan. 17 that Kate Middleton underwent planned abdominal surgery and was set to remain in the hospital for 10 to 14 days.

"Based on the current medical advice," the Palace said, "she is unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter."

Prince William Adjusting His Schedule

Amid Kate's recovery, Prince William postponed a number of engagements as he supported his family, including the couple's three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

King Charles III Undergoing Treatment

Shortly after Kate's hospitalization was made public, Buckingham Palace shared that Charles "has sought treatment for an enlarged prostate."

"His Majesty's condition is benign and he will attend hospital next week for a corrective procedure," the statement added. "The King’s public engagements will be postponed for a short period of recuperation."

Luxembourg Welcomes a New Baby

Princess Claire and Prince Felix of Luxembourg welcomed son Balthazar Felix Karl on Jan. 7, the first royal baby of the New Year!

For the latest breaking news updates, click here to download the E! News App