Queen Elizabeth II dies: Next-generation royals prepare to step into enhanced roles

LONDON — Prince William was formally appointed Prince of Wales by his father, King Charles III, on Saturday and wasted little time addressing the public in his new role.

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“On Thursday, the world lost an extraordinary leader, whose commitment to the country, the realms and the Commonwealth was absolute. So much will be said in the days ahead about the meaning of her historic reign. I, however, have lost a grandmother,” William wrote in a prepared statement shared widely across social media, honoring the late Queen Elizabeth II, who died Thursday at the age of 96 at her Scottish estate in Balmoral.

“She was by my side at my happiest moments. And she was by my side during the saddest days of my life. I knew this day would come, but it will be some time before the reality of life without Grannie will truly feel real,” he added.

William also stated that he would “honour” his grandmother’s memory “by supporting my father, the king, in every way I can.”

The new social media accounts officially represent William and Kate, the Prince and Princess of Wales.

William is now heir apparent after his father was formally proclaimed the United Kingdom’s new monarch following his mother’s death. In turn, William and Kate, both 40, are expected to immediately assume more centralized roles as “the new face of monarchy,” The Associated Press reported.

William and Kate also made a surprise joint appearance Saturday with Prince Harry and wife Meghan, greeting the throngs of mourners gathered outside Windsor Castle to remember the long-reigning monarch.

Saturday’s “walkabout” marked the first time the brothers have appeared amicably together in public since March 2020. The brothers’ relationship has been strained, both publicly and privately, since 37-year-old Harry stepped away from senior royal duties and moved to the United States two years ago, the AP reported.

According to the AP, William initiated Saturday’s show of unity.

Harry and Meghan now reside in California with their two young children.

The king, meanwhile, said during his Saturday address that he wanted to “express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas,” The Guardian reported.

According to the AP, the “working royals – members of the royal family who officially represent the monarch – include only Charles and his wife, Camilla, now the Queen Consort; William and Kate, the Prince and Princess of Wales; the queen’s only daughter, Princess Anne; and the queen’s youngest child, Prince Edward, and his wife, Sophie. Less known and involved working royals include the queen’s first cousin, Prince Richard, and his wife, Birgitte.

Kate is the first person since William’s mother, the late Princess Diana, to hold the Princess of Wales title.

Meanwhile, William and Kate also inherit Charles and Camilla’s other honorary titles, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, which means managing and taking income from the Duchy of Cornwall, and William is also expected to devote more time to championing his father’s passion topics of the environment and climate change, the AP reported.

“With Catherine beside him, our new Prince and Princess of Wales will, I know, continue to inspire and lead our national conversations, helping to bring the marginal to the center ground where vital help can be given,” Charles said Friday.

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