After a long dry spell for royal fans around the Easter holidays, there was finally something to see again last week: At least two prominent members of the Wales family were seen in public, and in a particularly likeable way. Heir to the throne William and his heir Prince George were seen Watch the Europa Conference League quarter-final game of your favorite club Aston Villa against the team from Lille in France in Birmingham. Although only George proudly wore the eye-catching blue fan scarf around his neck, both princes were visibly excited and enthusiastically celebrated their club’s victory in the VIP lounge after the match.

And that is said to have been just the start of an extensive resumption of royal duties for the Prince of Wales from the middle of the week. Since his wife Kate’s planned abdominal operation, he had reduced his own duties as much as possible as well as his representation of his father King Charles, who was also seriously ill, in order to support Kate and their three children.

But now Kate seems to be doing well again so that her husband can go away regularly to keep the family business in Windsor running. Because stepmother Camilla, who despite being 76 years old has been in charge of this for the last few weeks, now seems to be weakening a bit.

An indication of these intentions was William’s after-work drink with his mother-in-law a few days ago in a pub in Norfolk near the Wales country estate Anmer Hall. According to the circle of friends of the heir to the throne, it is above all Kate’s mother Carole Middleton who, together with William, has not left her daughter’s side since the beginning of the year, supporting her with nursing care immediately after the operation and often providing school transport George, Charlotte and Louis has taken over.

And now Carole continues to hold the fort in Adelaide Cottage so that her son-in-law can carry out his duties with peace of mind, as long as they cannot be carried out via video call from home or from Windsor Castle, which is just a few minutes’ drive away. At the dynasty’s headquarters, he has repeatedly conferred medals on deserving Britons on behalf of his father over the last few weeks. From there he also works on his projects or attends appointments remotely, as there is not enough space in the cottage at home with only four bedrooms for a proper study.

Even if no fixed dates for Prince William have been announced on the official website of the royal family, people around the palace say that William will be there after April 17th until King Charles can go out among people again without fear of infection will attend important appointments in his place, as befits his position as heir to the throne.

Whether this could become a kind of temporary reign for the Prince of Wales, a real trial run for the future William V, depends on how well and how quickly the cancer treatment the king is currently undergoing works recovered from it. The legal requirements already exist in the form of the Regency Act of 1937. However, this stipulates that the monarch is completely mentally or physically unable to carry out his royal duties. And that is not the case as long as Charles can still carry out important tasks, such as receiving the Prime Minister in weekly audience and signing state papers. But a “regency-light” as is common in Norway, for example (where Crown Prince Haakon occasionally acts officially as “Crown Prince Regent” when his father King Harald is out of the country or is so seriously ill that he cannot carry out official duties). also be an interim solution in Great Britain.

A friend of the couple told the US online magazine The Daily Beast: “In many ways, the next few weeks and months will be a template for William’s future rule, as he will have a similar level of staff and support upon his ascension to the throne resources, even if that will probably not be the case for many years. I think he will try to reconcile the demands of his public role with the demands of being a good family man who looks after his sick wife and ensures that that his children are doing well. I’m sure that means he will do more things online (…) This usually has a broader impact than in-person appearances because it can reach many more people at once.” said the unnamed friend.

It has also been repeatedly heard from advisers to the heir to the throne that William has no intention of emulating the model of his grandmother or his father, who traditionally made several hundred appearances a year and took on patronage of hundreds of charities. Instead, his and Kate’s goal will be to dedicate themselves to a smaller number of good causes, but to develop more “impact” – that seems to be the plan. The Prince of Wales himself put it this way during an appearance in Singapore last fall: “You have to stay focused. If you get too distracted, you (…) can’t achieve the impact or change that you really want.” His goal is to commit himself “more intensively and for longer” to individual important causes, instead of “simply holding a lot of patronages that you visit again and again and otherwise keep a close eye on.”

An important indicator going forward will be the replacement arrangement for a mid-June event in the annual royal calendar: “Trooping the Color”, the birthday parade in honor of the king. It is still said that Charles would like to take part himself if at all possible, although probably not on horseback, like last year, but rather in a carriage and then sitting on a podium on the parade ground, like his mother Elizabeth II in her later years years.

But if the king does not feel up to such a long day in public, it remains to be seen whether Charles will name his wife Camilla as his representative (which has already been speculated about in the British media), or his son and successor William. The constitutionally more understandable and usual solution would of course be the latter. It is precisely for such cases that there is an heir to the throne so that he or she can step in as the highest-ranking royal after the monarch in an emergency. This was also the case in 1951, when King George VI, seriously ill with lung cancer, commissioned his daughter Princess Elizabeth to take over the parade in his place. And so it was in 2022, when the then Prince of Wales Charles stood in for the Queen, who suffered from mobility problems.

The fact that the king is even considering NOT using his heir as a representative shows that he is already struggling with the fact that, even after just a good year on the throne, he is already so incapacitated by a bad whim of fate. In addition, he and his wife Camilla are noticeably behind the glamorous young heir to the throne William and Kate in the popularity ratings in recent opinion polls – certainly not easy for him either. A little jealousy of that would only be human. Who could blame Charles for wanting, after decades of waiting for the role he was born for, the opportunity to make his own mark as a monarch before William takes over? He is aware that, like his great-great-grandfather Edward VII, who succeeded his mother Queen Victoria, who also reigned for an incredibly long time, he will go down in history as a “transitional king”. But he would certainly like to be more than a “trustee monarch” who just keeps his mother’s legacy together until William can really get things moving again with a much longer reign and leave a real legacy.

In this respect, it is perhaps less a question of how many duties William would like to take on soon out of concern for Kate and the children, but rather which more or less important tasks his father leaves to him.

Another source, a former royal courtier, told The Daily Beast about the couple’s intentions: “William and Kate had hoped to have several decades ahead of them as Prince and Princess of Wales. And God willing, they will But the interesting thing about the next few months is that William will be forced to try out the kingship much sooner than he could have imagined. Of course he’s not happy about the reason for it, but there will certainly be some fascinating insights. what the reign of ‘King Wills’ might one day look like.”