Why Prince William Isn't 'Leaning on Many Others' amid Kate and Charles' Cancer Diagnoses (Exclusive)

Prince William is keeping his inner circle tight during a challenging chapter

Published Time: 09.05.2024 - 15:31:13 Modified Time: 09.05.2024 - 15:31:13

Prince William is keeping his inner circle tight during a challenging chapter.

A family friend tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week's cover story that the Prince of Wales, 41, "is not leaning on too many others" amid his wife Kate Middleton and father King Charles' cancer diagnoses as he focuses on his family.

William is balancing being an emotional support for Kate and their children Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 9, and Prince Louis, 6, amid his wife’s cancer treatment, while continuing his working royal role amid Charles' own cancer diagnosis.

"Whether you’re a prince or a pauper, no one would expect anything like this with his father and his wife both being treated for cancer," a royal insider says. "William is digging deep."

Another close pal says the Prince of Wales is relying heavily on the "nuclear family unit" of his immediate family of five and Kate’s supportive family: her parents Carole and Michael Middleton and her siblings Pippa and James. Insiders add that Prince William has also developed a closer bond with his father Charles.

As for Princess Kate, "you can let down your barriers when it’s your mother," the royal insider says. 

Close to Carole himself, William took his mother-in-law to a country pub near their Anmer Hall home in Norfolk over the Easter holiday. "I imagine he is leaning on them really hard," the royal insider says.

While the Princess of Wales, 42, has been outside of the public eye since announcing her cancer diagnosis on March 22, which she said was detected following her abdominal surgery in January, a close source says there’s a palpable sense of "positive vibes" and an "optimistic mood."

As he treads the tightrope of duty to his f -

amily and to that of his country, Prince William’s primary focus is steadfastly supporting his wife. 

"For William, everything hinges on Kate’s well-being," says royal biographer Ingrid Seward, author of My Mother and I.

Nearly a month after Princess Kate’s public announcement about her health and once their children were settled back in the classroom following a school break, William resumed public duties and has shared updates along the way with well-wishers. The royal reassured a volunteer at a food distribution charity on April 18 that he would take care of Kate and told a woman in Newcastle on April 30, "We’re all doing well."

Friends and palace insiders say that while the King and Kate’s health crises have brought William’s royal destiny to the forefront, "it won’t have suddenly made him think more about the future role," as one puts it. 

"That’s something he has thought about for years, if not decades," they say.

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Those close to Prince William and Prince Harry express a lingering sorrow that the royals brothers can no longer turn to one another for support. The brothers remain estranged, and William was not expected to reunite with Harry, 39, when he came to London on May 8 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Invictus Games.

"William would have always imagined he would have Harry alongside him. Going forward, that puts responsibility more on William and his family," says Seward. "There is no one else to take the slack."

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