Anytime that a family experiences a health scare—whether you’re royal or not—it’s a cornucopia of stress. Stress for the patient, stress for the caregiver, stress for everyone involved.
Prince William is feeling that stress currently, as his wife, Princess Kate, remains hospitalized after having abdominal surgery on January 16. Kate is expected to remain in hospital at The London Clinic for up to two weeks; afterwards, she will be in recovery at home at Adelaide Cottage until as far out as April.
With his wife on the mend post-surgery, William has largely paused royal duties, making the couple’s children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis—as well as, of course, Kate herself—the No. 1 priority. His diary has been reconfigured, and planned trips to Italy and Latvia have been postponed. William is making it clear where his loyalties lie, and that is with his family. (And rightfully so.) And that doesn’t even make mention of his father, King Charles, and his planned hospitalization this week for a “corrective procedure” for a benign enlarged prostate. Royal though he may be, William has a lot going on right now.
Even though work is largely on pause, William is juggling visiting Kate at The London Clinic and the school run and (temporarily) solo dad duties with the three kids. This has left the Prince of Wales “rather bewildered” by Kate’s sudden hospital stay; though the surgery was planned, as Kensington Palace said in a statement released last week, it still was at least partially unexpected (hence the need to reschedule the diary).
“Prince William is juggling being at the bedside of his wife, the Princess of Wales, as she recovers from surgery with caring for their three children,” The Mirror reports.
Royal expert and former BBC royal correspondent Jennie Bond said that this next season of life will be a particularly testing time for William: “He’ll be feeling emotional, stressed, and probably rather bewildered by this sudden turn of events,” she said. “You can have every privilege in life, but your health is paramount and beyond your control.”
As for George, Charlotte, and Louis, “William will certainly be there for the children,” Bond said. “They want to keep things as normal as possible, so I’d expect William will be doing the school run, helping with homework, cooking, and doing the bedtime routine.” She added “Keeping the routine going is important. But they are certain to be feeling a bit confused. William is, sadly, perfectly placed to help. He knows exactly how it feels to be worried about your mum and, in his case, to lose her. So he will be taking extra care to reassure the children and tell them as much, or as little, as he judges they need to hear.”
It's unclear heretofore whether the three kids have visited Kate in hospital. “I’m sure that as soon as it’s appropriate, William will take them to see her in hospital, because children need that kind of face-to-face reassurance,” Bond said. “They’ll be FaceTiming a lot, I’m sure, and showing them that Mum’s alright.”
Kate was said to be “doing well” as of last week, and William has been spending ample time at her bedside. The two have adopted a new motto in the wake of Kate’s health scare, it seems: “100 percent family first, day job second,” which they’ll likely keep going forward.
“This is a testing time for them,” Bond said. “The Wales family has been through a lot of trauma recently with deaths, rifts, allegations, and a Coronation, but they have managed to keep smiling through it all and their popularity has surged. To be hit by this most unexpected hammer blow is a real shock, but I’m sure they’ll appreciate the outpouring of goodwill towards Kate and the whole family.”
Though Kate will be out of sight until at least April, she will likely be working behind the scenes from home, a source told The Sunday Times.
“Her passion for the early years is clear,” they said. “There will be a huge continuation of that campaign and she will be keen to be out continuing that conversation with the nation as soon as possible.”
As he juggles his temporary new reality, William doesn’t have to do it alone. In addition to the family’s nanny, Maria Teresa Borrallo, Kate’s parents Michael and Carole Middleton are also on hand to help manage it all.