While King Charles and Princess Kate recover from surgery, Prince William is taking time off to support his wife — but who is left to represent the royals?
The royal family is relying on just a few members to keep up with duties.
Both Kate Middleton and King Charles were discharged from the hospital on Monday following their respective surgeries, and the palace said the Princess of Wales, 42, and the King, 75, would take more time to recuperate privately. Prince William has also cleared his calendar to be by his wife's side and support their family during this time.
Now, another royal is taking some time out of the public eye. Prince Edward, 59, is taking “a short break from public duties after his trips overseas in January to South Africa and St. Helena,” The Telegraph reported on Tuesday. The Duke of Edinburgh had a busy itinerary during four days away last week, paying an official visit to South Africa, a Commonwealth country, and St. Helena, a British Overseas Territory.
It’s standard for the royals to take a short time off after busy trips. A look at the Royal Diary suggests that Prince Edward is not expected to step out again for another week. On Feb. 8, the Duke of Edinburgh is scheduled to attend a reception at the Institute of Physics and a talent showcase at The Savoy as patron of the Production Guild of Great Britain, according to the calendar of the British royal family’s upcoming engagements.
The Duke of Edinburgh is in St Helena! 🇸🇭
🐢 HRH was welcomed to one of the most remote inhabited islands by Jonathan the Tortoise, who, at 191 years old, is the oldest living land animal in the world!
Click to read more about HRH's time on the island so far! 👇
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) January 25, 2024
The time away from public duty for many working royals means the spotlight will burn even brighter on Queen Camilla, Princess Anne and Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh. The women have all kept busy schedules of official engagements in recent weeks as Princess Kate and King Charles' health news made headlines.
Queen Camilla, 76, has made a series of solo engagements, from celebrating the centenary of Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House to visiting a hospital ahead of World Cancer Day.
Sophie, 59, visited the Harris Girls' Academy in London last week to join students participating in a menstrual health workshop, where she spoke candidly about the topic in an effort to break stigmas.
Princess Anne, 73, is known for her status as the hardest-working royal for the number of engagements she undertakes each year, and 2024 is proving to be no different. On Tuesday, the talented equestrian (who competed in the Olympics) opened Riding for the Disabled’s new facilities at Reaseheath Equestrian College. She also joined the celebrations for Jodrell Bank's UNESCO World Heritage status.
Whilst in Cheshire, The Princess Royal also opened Riding for the Disabled’s new facilities at Reaseheath Equestrian College.
The charity provides over 17,000 disabled children and adults with fun activities like riding and carriage driving.
Find out more:… pic.twitter.com/3eGB3VngU4
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) January 31, 2024
Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace issued separate statements less than two hours apart on Jan. 17 to share news on Princess Kate and King Charles’ health. Kensington Palace said that the Princess of Wales had “planned abdominal surgery” the day prior and would remain in hospital for 10 to 14 days before heading home to continue her recovery. PEOPLE understands the issue is non-cancerous, and Kensington Palace hinted that Kate’s recovery might be lengthy.
“Based on the current medical advice, she is unlikely to return to public duties after Easter,” the statement said.
Shortly after, Buckingham Palace announced that King Charles was seeking treatment for an enlarged prostate. It’s understood that the King wanted to share his diagnosis to encourage men who may be experiencing symptoms to get checked, and the decision has already made an impact. The National Health Service of the U.K. said the palace announcement on Jan. 17 prompted a 1,000% surge in searches about prostate enlargement on its website.
A royal source told PEOPLE that King Charles would be capable of fulfilling his constitutional requirements and duties during this time. The King arrived at the London Clinic last Friday for the planned procedure, checking into the same private hospital where Princess Kate had surgery and remained to recover.
PEOPLE understands that King Charles visited his daughter-in-law at the London Clinic before his surgery, and both royal patients left on Monday. While Princess Kate’s departure was not publicized, King Charles left through the front entrance with Queen Camilla and gave a wave to well-wishers.
"The King was this afternoon discharged from hospital following planned medical treatment and has rescheduled forthcoming public engagements to allow for a period of private recuperation," Buckingham Palace said in a statement on Monday.
"He would like to thank the medical team and all those involved in supporting his hospital visit, and is grateful for all the kind messages he has received in recent days," the statement continued.
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The King’s exit followed confirmation from Kensington Palace that Princess Kate was home after a 13-day stay in hospital.
“The Princess of Wales has returned home to Windsor to continue her recovery from surgery. She is making good progress," Kensington Palace said in a statement Monday. “The Prince and Princess wish to say a huge thank you to the entire team at The London Clinic, especially the dedicated nursing staff, for the care they have provided.
“The Wales family continues to be grateful for the well wishes they have received from around the world," the statement said.
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