The royal family is reportedly facing "the biggest crisis" since the 1936 abdication

The Prince and Princess of Wales visit Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The royal family has endured a difficult year, particularly over the past few months with both King Charles and the Princess of Wales diagnosed with major health conditions.

King Charles confirmed the news that he had been diagnosed with an undisclosed form of cancer in February, 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 revealed her diagnosis, releasing a video message last month confirming that she had been diagnosed with cancer after undergoing major abdominal surgery, and asking for privacy and space as she endures preventative chemotherapy.

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

Both King Charles and the Princess of Wales have taken a step back from public duties in recent months, recovering from their respective health conditions in private. And as a result of what experts are calling "the biggest crisis since the abdication", Prince William has been forced to step up as the heir to the throne, carrying the weight of the monarchy on his shoulders.

“I think people will be talking about this as the biggest crisis since the abdication. It’s quite vulnerable," royal expert Robert Jobson explained, telling Hello! earlier this month that "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."

“William and Kate had hoped to have several decades as Prince and Princess of Wales, and god willing they will still get them," a former royal courtier has reportedly noted via Cosmopolitan. "But what is interesting about the next few months is that William is being forced into a dry run at being king much sooner than he might have imagined such a thing would come to pass."

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.