The Prince and Princess of Wales are reportedly feeling "intense anxiety" at the prospect of taking the throne

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend the Official Opening of the Glade of Light Memorial
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The royal family has had a difficult start to 2024, with the past few months seeing both King Charles and the Princess of Wales suffer major health conditions.

King Charles confirmed the news that he had been diagnosed with an undisclosed form of cancer last month, making his diagnosis public "in the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer". 

The Princess of Wales also chose to make her condition public, releasing a video this month confirming that she had been diagnosed with cancer after undergoing major abdominal surgery earlier this year.

“It has been an incredibly tough couple of months for our entire family," the Princess of Wales explained in her video message, telling those affected by cancer around the world, "You are not alone".

Due to their respective health conditions, both King Charles and Princess Kate have been forced to take a step back from public duties to focus on their recoveries. 

And with the new "slimmed down" monarchy in place, a lot of the weight has fallen on Prince William's shoulders, with the heir to the throne forced to step up.

"I think William has certainly realised this and the weight of the world is on his shoulders. He's going to be the King at some stage," royal author Robert Jobson explained to Hello!.

"The expectation is on William's shoulders and he must be feeling rather like Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth when she was 25, suddenly being catapulted into this job which becomes all consuming."

According to recent reports, this has all got a bit too much for Prince William and Princess Kate, with the couple said to be struggling with the "unmanageable pressure".

In a New York Times op ed published by Tina Brown and entitled "Heavy Lies The Crown", the royal author reported that "a tidal wave of premature responsibility is crashing in [Kate] and William’s direction.”

“The almost simultaneous news of Charles’s cancer has put William and Catherine in frightening proximity to ascending the throne just when they had hoped for a span of years to parent their children out of the public eye,” read part of the op ed. “Frozen, unready, and with Catherine now seriously unwell, the Prince and Princess of Wales await the awesome burden of the crown.”

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.