King Charles' wife of 18 years is a special support amid the diagnosis
“She is his strength and stay like [Prince Philip] was for the late Queen,” a palace insider tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week's issue. “She will be great. She will rally him, she will buoy him. She is amazing. She equips him to do the job he has to do.”
The King’s wife of 18 years will play an important role in supporting him throughout his period of treatment while continuing with a full schedule of public duties.
On Monday, Buckingham Palace announced that the King had been diagnosed with "a form of cancer" and advised to postpone public duties while receiving treatment. King Charles, 75, and Queen Camilla, 76, attended church together at St. Mary Magdalene in Sandringham the day before the announcement, and Queen Camilla was by the King’s side when he left London on Tuesday as they headed back to Sandringham.
As King Charles steps back from public engagements and Kate Middleton continues her months-long recuperation following abdominal surgery, it’s up to Prince William and Queen Camilla to be the face of the monarchy.
“It is hard with Kate being ill as well, but he will step up,” a source close to the royal household says of Prince William.
“He wouldn’t want to put that pressure on William,” says the source. “He has always wanted to save his children from having that pressure too early and that will remain. Particularly as William has other priorities [with Kate].”
King Charles will continue to receive his “red boxes,” the monarch’s daily delivery of official files, and process state documents. It is also expected that the King will maintain his weekly audience with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, with appropriate adjustments made if his doctors advise minimizing in-person contact.
"Yes, he’s going to step back from public duties for a considerable time, but there will be plenty of work for him — it just won’t necessarily be in a room with hundreds of people,” royal biographer Robert Hardman tells PEOPLE.
Adds the palace insider: “He will want to get on with the job. But that will depend on what treatment he is having. It may be utterly draining on him. He will need a lot of support.”
Looking to the past, Hardman notes that King Charles faced a gunman — unbeknownst to him or his security, armed with blank bullets — in Sydney in 1994, along with bomb threats during his investiture as Prince of Wales in 1969.
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“He’s a fighter and has an inner steel,” says the author of The Making of a King: King Charles III and the Modern Monarchy. “He’s philosophical and stoical and has a deeper faith than people appreciate.”
Adds a source close to the royal household, “He is a positive person and has a really healthy attitude to looking after his body. Cancer treatment has come a long, long way. He will come through.”
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