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Prince Edward Set to Become the Royal Family’s Temporary Leading Man, Reports Say

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Prince Edward could emerge as the royal family’s temporary leading man as King Charles III and Prince William step back from public duties, reports in the British press suggest.

The Duke of Edinburgh—the youngest child of the late Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II—has been taking on more royal engagements and responsibilities since King Charles revealed his cancer diagnosis in February and Prince William’s wife Kate Middleton underwent “planned abdominal surgery” in January. Kate revealed last week that she was diagnosed with cancer following the surgery and is undergoing “preventative” chemotherapy, ending weeks of speculation and conspiracy theories about her health and whereabouts.

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According to The Independent, Queen Camilla has taken on at least an additional 13 royal engagements after the King was diagnosed with cancer but has also been taking some time off to help him recover. Prince Edward has increasingly filled in.

Earlier this month, the Duke of Edinburgh made an appearance at Right Stuff Amateur Boxing Club in Staffordshire, which encourages young people to engage in healthy social behavior. He was also seen at the British Cycling National Track Championships in February and played a match of badminton against his wife at the All England Open badminton Championships.  

Insiders have praised Prince Edward’s “inner steel” to The Telegraph and his royal duties at large. In 2023, Edward undertook 297 royal engagements, the third largest number of any royal that year after King Charles and his sister Anne, the Princess Royal. As more royals are dealing with health and family matters, Edward’s duties are expected to increase.

Prince Edward, who has been a full time working royal since 2002, is currently the most senior working male royal after King Charles and Prince William.

Since his cancer diagnosis, King Charles has refrained from work and rescheduled all of his forthcoming engagements, according to a statement from Buckingham Palace. Similarly, Prince William announced that he and his wife will be taking a four-week break from royal engagements as Kate receives treatment. The Princess of Wales expects to make a “full recovery.”

Prince Edward is 14th in line to the throne. He completed his bachelor’s degree at Cambridge University, and served briefly in the Royal Marines. His 1987 attempt at making a Royals-themed TV game show called “It’s a Royal Knockout” was critically panned, and is often referred to as one of the biggest PR debacles for the Royal family.

Prince Edward is currently the seventh most popular living royal, according to YouGov polling. Some 42% of the British public have a positive view of him, compared to 17% a negative one.

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