‘Prince William and Kate face growing pressure’ as they stand in for King Charles

The Prince of Wales has faced some major moments on the public stage during his 41 years. From walking behind his mother’s coffin to meeting world leaders, William has always appeared respectful, calm and capable – just like his stoic late grandmother.

Last week, with his wife the Princess of Wales by his side, he gave a glimpse of the king he will one day become as he marked the first anniversary of the death of Queen Elizabeth II by attending a service at St Davids Cathedral in Pembrokeshire.

During their day-long visit to Wales, the couple warmly greeted well-wishers before entering the cathedral, where Kate placed a floral tribute of white roses in front of a photograph of the late monarch, as William bowed his head in a moment of quiet contemplation.

Earlier the couple captured the feelings of many in a message posted on their official social media platforms, accompanied by their favourite portraits of Elizabeth, “Today we remember the extraordinary life and legacy of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth. We all miss you. W & C.”

Outside the cathedral, Kate told local flying instructor Patricia Mawuli Porter, “We all have wonderful memories of her. We have to hold onto them, cherish them.”

Buckingham Palace released a previously unseen image of the monarch in her Garter robes taken by Cecil Beaton in 1968, when she was 42.

King Charles and Queen Camilla “quietly and privately” grieved at Balmoral and there was a touching statement from the King, who looked close to tears as he left a prayer service on Friday morning.

He said, “We recall with great affection her long life, devoted service and all she meant to so many of us,” adding that he was “deeply grateful” for “the love and support” shown by the public during the past year.

Other family members shared their reflections. The Duchess of York wrote on Instagram, “As we mourn a year on, we also celebrate the wonderful times we shared with her late Majesty the Queen,” adding that corgis Sandy and Muick “are thriving”.

Princess Eugenie posted an unseen photo of her with her grandmother, commenting, “Missing you so much but remembering what a life of service, love and dedication to everyone and to your family, who loved you so very much.

Forever grateful to you. And always in my heart.” William’s composed demeanour in Wales, which came as Prince Harry made a surprise stop 230 miles away at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, where Elizabeth II is buried, gave no hint of the fact that the pressure on him is immense, according to former royal correspondent Jennie Bond.

But she says that pressure will increase as he and Kate take on more prominent roles, both together and independently.

“There’s clearly a lot of pressure on William and Catherine, now more than ever before,” says Jennie. “And with the number of working royals decreasing, it is only going to mount.

“Thousands of requests are made every year for a member of the royal family to attend events – and these two are always top of that list. They’re in constant demand. But it’s not surprising as they have huge star quality.”

Earlier in the week, William was in Bournemouth promoting Homewards, his five-year programme to end homelessness. He met leaders of the project, whose aim is to make homelessness “rare, brief and unrepeated”.

While the prince will not have to wait as long as his father did to fulfil his destiny as King, Jennie says she is glad he has been allowed the time and space to prepare.

“People used to tell me they wanted the crown to skip a generation and go straight to William,” she explains. I always said that would be cruel, because he’s too young and he has family responsibilities.

"I’m so glad that William and Catherine now have a little bit of wiggle room… they try so hard to be around for their children as much as possible.”

William learnt from the best, and spoke last September of the hugely positive influence his grandmother had on him.

“While I will grieve her loss, I also feel incredibly grateful,” he said. “I have had the benefit of the Queen’s wisdom and reassurance into my fifth decade.”

He also talked about the “guidance and support” the late monarch offered to his wife Kate, and concluded by saying, “I will honour her memory by supporting my father, the King, in every way I can.”

“The Queen prepared William a lot,” says royal expert Hugo Vickers. “He had the chance to watch her at work, and that’s one of the great advantages of a hereditary monarchy.

"They’re trained from day one, they can see how things are done and absorb things gradually, which is very important.”

According to Jennie, the Prince of Wales “exudes confidence” regardless of the growing pressure. “I think this comes from growing older, becoming more comfortable in your own skin, the vast experience he now has of being centre stage, and learning to cope with the glare of pretty constant publicity,” she tells us.

Jenny explains that before she died, his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, said she had “great faith” in his ability to cope with life in the limelight and that the UK would come to realise they were “very lucky to have someone like William”.

“Princess Diana said that William found the relentless presence of cameras very difficult. But, she told me, ‘he will learn to cope. He will get used to it’.

“And she was right. He’s always been a good-looking boy, and then young man. Now, in his forties, he wears his almost bald head well! It suits him.

"He’s tall, dashing, with a fabulous smile, and the same engaging manner that his mother had.” He proved just how capable he is when addressing the audience at his father’s coronation concert in May, with a speech that “was confident, funny, punchy and pointed” says Jennie.

As well as talking about how proud he is of his “Pa”, he praised the King for his commitment to tackling climate change, saying, “He warned us of the risks to our planet’s health long before it was an everyday issue.”

It is a subject very close to William’s own heart, and as founder of the Earthshot Prize, he will attend the Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit in New York next week.

Using his power and influence for good causes is admirable, says Jennie. “William is showing that he’s determined to do more than simply pay lip service to the idea that the royals can make a difference,” she adds.

As he has been schooled in royal duty since childhood, Jennie thinks William has been a great teacher for his wife, just as his grandmother was for him.

“Catherine has demonstrated that she’s the real deal,” she says. “I think her strength is drawn from the fact that she was given such a long apprenticeship.”

Despite their busy schedules, William and Kate have nailed the work-life balance too. Their children Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, eight, and Prince Louis, five, remain their priority.

“William’s not a workaholic like his father,” says Jennie. “He knows how important family life is and how much it means to his children for him to be around at weekends and holidays, and whenever he can.

“He seems to be a full on, hands-on, caring dad, with a house full of fun and laughter. Both he and Kate have made it clear that, as much as possible, they will put the family first.”

Some say that without Kate by his side, William would not have the popularity that he now enjoys. It is true that as a couple they are a beacon of hope for the Windsors.

And royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams says no one would be more proud of the pair than William’s grandmother. “The Queen was very happy to think that William and Kate are the future of the monarchy, which they are,” says Richard.

"They’re perhaps easier for younger generations to relate to, so I think the Queen would be immensely proud. They’re the world’s most glamorous royal couple – they’re perfect.”

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