The Prince of Wales was back at work supporting the King as the Duke of Sussex travelled home to America following a whirlwind trip to see their cancer-stricken father.
William hosted a Windsor Castle investiture ceremony and received “good wishes” for Charles, who earlier this week underwent his first treatment for an undisclosed type of cancer.
The future King had taken time off to support his family after the Princess of Wales underwent planned abdominal surgery on January 16, and returned to public duties once Kate’s care and recovery had settled.
But his first day back at work has found the monarchy dealing with the health scare surrounding his father, who is the head of state, and whose reign will pass the 17-month mark on Thursday.
Honouring amazing people doing incredible things in our communities up and down the country. pic.twitter.com/32cB6JP8jl
— The Prince and Princess of Wales (@KensingtonRoyal) February 7, 2024
Former England striker Ellen White, who was made an MBE for services to football, passed on to William her “best wishes” for the King, and sympathised with the monarchy, saying it must be a “difficult” time for the royal family.
Harry had been told, like other senior royals, personally by the King about his diagnosis, and quickly boarded a flight from California, spending around 45 minutes at Charles’ Clarence House home on Tuesday.
Charles looked relaxed later that day when, as he returned to Sandringham, he was seen in public for the first time since his cancer diagnosis was announced by Buckingham Palace on Monday.
But there was no meeting between the estranged siblings William and Harry, who have had a fractured relationship for a number of years, exacerbated after the Sussexes stepped down as working royals, moved to America and aired a string of grievances against the royal family.
The duke was photographed earlier at a VIP area of Heathrow Airport, around 24 hours after first arriving in the UK, as he began his journey back to America.
Charles has postponed all public-facing duties, but is continuing with behind-the-scenes work on his red boxes of state papers.
Downing Street took the unusual step of confirming details about a personal phone call between Rishi Sunak and the King this evening, where the Prime Minister is likely to have wished Charles well, ahead of their regular audiences resuming on February 21.
William may step in to represent his father at an event, but no engagements are scheduled at the moment and the royal palaces will make arrangements if the need arises.
Kate left hospital last Monday and returned to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor to be reunited with her three children, but the 42-year-old future queen is not expected to return to official duties until after Easter.
The prince last carried out a major royal event more than three weeks ago, when he travelled to Leeds to make former Leeds Rhinos team-mates Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield each a CBE for raising funds and awareness for motor neurone disease.
At the same private hospital that cared for Kate, the King received treatment for an enlarged prostate and was discharged the same day as his daughter-in-law, before Buckingham Palace announced on Monday Charles had been diagnosed with a “form of cancer”.
White chatted briefly to William, president of the Football Association, during the investiture ceremony and said afterwards it must be a “difficult” time for the royal family.
The former striker, who was part of England’s Euro 2022 winning team, said to the PA news agency about the conversation: “I sent my best wishes to the King.
“I just think, you know, it must be a difficult time for the family.”
David Shreeve, who co-founded the Conservation Foundation charity with TV botanist David Bellamy, was made an MBE and said after the ceremony: “I did say to him at the end that I wished both his wife and his dad good luck.
“He said he appreciated it,” added Mr Shreeve, who was recognised for services to the environment.