William and Kate ‘Put Family First’ as She Recovers From Surgery

Prince William’s decision to clear the decks and abandon all royal duties while Princess Kate convalesces from abdominal surgery is a clear sign of the importance they both attach to “putting their family first,” friends, insiders and royal observers have told The Daily Beast.However, some sources said they hoped that William would make an effort

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Prince William’s decision to clear the decks and abandon all royal duties while Princess Kate convalesces from abdominal surgery is a clear sign of the importance they both attach to “putting their family first,” friends, insiders and royal observers have told The Daily Beast.

However, some sources said they hoped that William would make an effort to return to some public-facing duties later this month to reassure the public that Kate’s condition is being “adequately managed,” that her recovery is on track and there is no cause for alarm.

Former royal editor of the Sun, Duncan Larcombe, told The Daily Beast: “The whole of their focus is on her recovery and their family right now. This is a big change in protocol: it’s not really the done thing in royal circles to be seen to be taking great swathes of time off for a mere illness. You keep going. Just look at the queen; even when she was dying, she would get it together for five minutes and walk out onto the balcony and wave. The queen mother had breast cancer in the late 70s—but that didn’t emerge until after her death in 2002! Any suggestion that Prince Philip was ever seriously ill was always aggressively denied by Buckingham Palace.

“William and Kate are making it very clear that times have changed and they won’t be bound by the old ways of doing things. Instead, they are going to act like anyone else in this position, and are putting their family first.”

The Daily Beast understands that William and the couple’s nanny, Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo, are splitting household duties including school runs for the children, with Kate under doctor’s orders to remain in bed as much as possible. Borrallo, a so-called “Norland Nanny” as alumni of the prestigious Norland College are known, has been with the family since 2014, shortly after the birth of Prince George. She has become a trusted and valued member of the domestic household, one whose presence will be relied on more than ever in the months ahead.

Kensington Palace have said that Kate will not be expected to return to public life until April. After Kate was admitted to hospital, palace sources told The Daily Beast that William would be absent from public duties, “during the immediate period following her return home.” They have since declined to enlarge on that carefully ambiguous formulation.

In contrast to Kate’s protracted absence from public life, King Charles is understood to be mending well from his much more minor prostate procedure. Some sources have suggested he could be back doing public engagements as soon as next week.

When it comes to William and Kate, however, no-one is making any bets, although some hope that William might return to public engagements relatively soon.

One source said: “It would help give a sense of normality, and that things are being adequately managed, if William made a few public appearances. Perhaps the BAFTAS [the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards] will be the moment.”

Certainly, if William, President of BAFTA since February 2010 is not able or willing to attend the awards, scheduled to take place on 18 February, his non-appearance will cut through to the general public, precisely because of his near-perfect attendance record at the ceremony.

Kensington Palace did not comment when asked if William would be attending the ceremony. The palace would, of course, anyway be unlikely to confirm engagements so far ahead at a time of uncertainty lest they make William a hostage to ill-fortune.

Britain's Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, accompanied by their parents Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

Britain’s Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, accompanied by their parents Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

Jonathan Brady/Pool via Reuters

A friend of the couple’s told The Daily Beast: “I don’t think William will be doing anything at all in the next few weeks.”

Asked if they thought that was a sign of how seriously the couple are taking Kate’s recovery, the friend said, “It is totally unprecedented. It’s just about two very conscientious parents putting their children, on whom there is tremendous pressure, first.”

There seem to be no plans for any other royals to step into William and Kate’s shoes while they are off work.

A royal source told The Daily Beast: “William and Kate have their own royal household, so it wouldn’t be appropriate for Prince Edward, for example, to suddenly start representing them, in the way he could represent the king.”

William sees his most important job as taking care of his family…

Emily Andrews, a royal author and columnist for Woman and Woman & Home magazine in the U.K. said: “The amount of time William has taken off points to the fact that this was a major operation and that she needed huge amount of postoperative nursing care; it was noticeable that they singled out the nursing staff for special thanks in her statement on leaving the hospital.

“So yes, she needs to recover, and the next priority is to keep things as normal as possible for the children. In contrast to Charles, who has made a big deal of the fact that he will be attending to business behind the scenes while he recovers, the message from the Waleses has been that they are ‘off off.’ There is no sense that he is working from home. The focus is Kate and the children. That is a massive change, breaking the cycle of his own father, who, as William and Harry told us, was a workaholic who would fall asleep at night with his red boxes on his desk and wake up with bits of paper stuck to his forehead.

“William sees his most important job as taking care of his family, and he is putting his money where his mouth is.”

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