Prince William has found a "brother" figure to lean on within the royal family

Prince William and Kate Middleton attend the 2021 Earthshot Prize
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The royal family has endured a difficult start to 2024, and with both King Charles and the Princess of Wales diagnosed with undisclosed forms of cancer, it has fallen upon Prince William to step up and reassure the nation.

Following the news of their health conditions, both senior royals were forced to take a temporary step back from royal duties to focus on their respective recoveries. And while King Charles returned to work last month, Prince William is still taking on major responsibilities as heir to the throne

With the "weight of the world on [Prince William's] shoulders" amid what experts have been calling his "dry run as King", the Mountbatten-Windsor cousins are said to have been a major support.

In fact, in the absence of his brother Prince Harry who is reported to have had a strained relationship with Prince William in recent years, the future King is thought to have found a new brother-like figure within the fold, his cousin Peter Phillips.

"When two people in a family fall out, it makes life very difficult not only for them, but for the rest of the family too," explained former BBC royal correspondent Jennie Bond, via OK! Magazine.

"Loyalties are tested and there is no easy answer. This is a time when William needs all the love and support he can get from his family. His brother is not, and will not, be here to help or provide a shoulder to cry on. And so I'm really glad that William has a cousin who is almost like a brother to him in Peter Phillips."

Peter Phillips attends the Cheltenham Festival

(Image credit: Getty Images)

This is not the first time that experts have praised Prince William and Peter Phillips' close bond, with HELLO!'s Royal Editor, Emily Nash calling Phillips a "trusted sounding board for the future King".

"Peter will be a great support to [William] – both as a cousin and as someone who has been there all his life and understands the institution," she previously explained, crediting his "pragmatic, common sense approach to things."

She continued: "Like the rest of the family, I'm sure Peter is lending his support to William and Kate as they face her cancer treatment."

We will continue to update this story.

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.