Prince William returns to public duties amid wife's cancer recovery

Agence France-Presse
Prince William returns to public duties amid wife's cancer recovery
Britain's Prince William, Prince of Wales helps to unload trays of food from van of Surplus to Supper, a surplus food redistribution charity, as he arrives in Feltham, on April 18, 2024, to visit Hanworth Centre Hub, a youth centre which provides a range of services to create a safer and better-connected community.
AFP / Ian Vogler

LONDON, United Kingdom — Prince William returned Thursday to official duties, visiting a food charity and youth center, in his first public engagements since his wife Catherine revealed a shock cancer diagnosis.

Heir to the throne as King Charles III's eldest son, William, 41, has been largely out of sight since Catherine, Princess of Wales, announced last month that she was undergoing preventative chemotherapy.

The revelation that the 42-year-old was receiving treatment for a cancer discovered following abdominal surgery triggered a wave of support from global leaders, family members, media and the public.

Charles had only weeks earlier revealed he was being treated for an unspecified cancer, leaving the British monarchy in crisis with two of its most senior members simultaneously fighting serious illness.

Carrying out royal duties for the first time in weeks, William went to a surplus food redistribution charity in Surrey, southwest of London, before heading to the youth hub in the west of the capital.

At the Surplus to Supper charity, the prince was photographed meeting volunteers and joining chefs in the kitchen to help prepare meals.

He received two get well soon cards from one of the volunteers -- one for Kate and one for Charles -- and could be heard saying "you're very kind" as he thanked her for them.

Although not at official engagements, William has been seen in public in recent weeks, most recently at an Aston Villa football match last week with his 10-year-old son Prince George.

'Time, space and privacy'

The future king has attended events in an official capacity sporadically so far this year, amid the royal health woes.

In mid-January, Kensington Palace said he was postponing upcoming public engagements to be at his wife's side at the London clinic where she  underwent surgery and to help care for their three children.

William then returned to some frontline duties after Kate, as she is widely known, left hospital that month.

But he heightened speculation around her health in February by abruptly pulling out of attending a memorial service, citing a "personal matter".

Within weeks, the princess had revealed her cancer diagnosis in a video message, and William again largely disappeared from public view.

Kate asked for "time, space and privacy" as she completes her treatment.

The couple were notable absentees when senior royals, including Charles, gathered for an Easter church service in Windsor, a long-standing annual tradition for the family.

The service was the king's most high-profile public appearance since Buckingham Palace announced his cancer diagnosis in February.

He had been admitted for surgery for a benign prostate condition the month before but was subsequently diagnosed with an unrelated cancer.

The 75-year-old monarch has been continuing behind-the-scenes work and holding some in-person meetings and increasingly attending official events.

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