Prince William will continue to put his wife and children first as he steps forward to help his sick father.
While the heir to the throne will return to public duties today – after deciding to 'clear his diaries' in order to support the Princess of Wales during and after her operation last month – he is not expected to take on full-time royal duties quite yet.
He will make two public engagements, holding an investiture at Windsor Castle on behalf of the King in the morning followed by a gala dinner in central London in the evening in his capacity as Patron of the London Air Ambulance.
After that, he won't have any more duties scheduled this week and will be with Kate and the kids again next week during the half-term break.
A source said: “The prince has always made it clear that his priority is to support his wife and family at the moment, and he has not set a timetable for this.”
He added: “He will return to his duties on Wednesday, but you should not expect to see him again for a short time after that.”
His team at Kensington Palace is understood to be talking with his counterpart at Buckingham Palace about public events that William could potentially attend in his father's place.
They are likely to model more positions, perhaps leading the family at events such as the annual Commonwealth Day Mass at Westminster Abbey early next month.
But with His Majesty insisting on keeping a firm hand on state business during his treatment, it is unlikely that the future king will be asked to take up any constitutional matters.
It is understood that William, 41, has his father's 100 per cent support in making a comeback at his own pace.
A source said: “The King adores Catherine and thinks she is doing a fantastic job. He understands that family comes first.
The King has been spending increasing amounts of time at Windsor Castle since his accession, often staying on Sunday evenings, allowing him more time with his son and young grandchildren, to whom he is closer than ever.
William, who now lives at Adelaide Cottage on the Windsor Estate, a short walk from the castle, also often uses rooms in the historic royal residence for meetings.
The Princess of Wales was unexpectedly admitted to hospital last month to have what was described as “abdominal surgery”.
She spent two weeks in a London clinic, where the king also underwent prostate surgery, and is unlikely to start carrying out royal duties again until after Easter.
Her aides said at the time that her husband had canceled all upcoming engagements to be by her side and support their children Prince George, ten, Princess Charlotte, eight, and five-year-old Prince Louis.
Although they have not put a timetable on this, sources indicated that the prince will stay with them in Windsor for “several weeks.”
William has always made it clear that at this stage of his life, his duty to his family comes before his public role.
However, it's not unheard of for three senior members of the royal family to be off work at once, especially now, and the monarch is likely to remain away for longer than planned, meaning working royals will be vulnerable on the ground.
This means that there will inevitably be more pressure on the future king to escalate.
At today's inauguration, William will hand out more than 50 honours, including one to former England women's footballer Ellen White, 34.
In the evening, he will attend the London Air Ambulance's annual fundraising event in central London. He has been a patron of the charity since 2020.
The dinner is being held to support the charity's biggest ever fundraising campaign, with the hope of generating £15 million to replace its helicopter fleet.
William is due to give a speech and is expected to publicly acknowledge his father's illness for the first time and perhaps thank well-wishers.
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