With Queen Elizabeth in self-isolation for months still to come, and Prince Charles recovering from his positive coronavirus diagnosis, Kate and William have cemented their roles as heads of the royal family.
Queen Elizabeth, who turned 94 on April 21, has been in self-isolation since mid-March at Windsor Castle, alongside her husband Prince Philip, 98.
On April 5, 24 million people tuned in to watch as the Queen made a rare video address, thanking those on the frontline, urging the nation to stay home and assuring viewers that the United Kingdom “will succeed” in the war against COVID-19.
She also promised that the monarchy would continue to offer support to the nation. “You can be assured that my family and I stand ready to play our part,” she said.
It is only the fifth time that the Queen has given this type of speech in her 68-year reign.
Royals expert Phil Dampier tells New Idea Royals that the main priority right now is that the Queen continues to isolate and protect her health.
“If anything happened to the Queen it would be a terrible blow to the psyche of the country, so it is important she is kept safe. Coronavirus doesn’t distinguish between royalty and the rest of us.”
While the Queen is no doubt eager to get back to business as usual, due to her age making her a high-risk individual, it’s likely she will be isolating “for the foreseeable future”, Dampier says.
“We’re in uncharted territory but certainly her doctors will be doing the utmost to make sure that she is safe.”
This comes amid the news that the Queen’s birthday celebrations and Trooping the Colour, which were set for June, have been cancelled.
With the Queen remaining behind closed doors, and the next in line to the throne, Prince Charles, 71, recovering from the illness also in self-isolation, the crisis has provided an opportunity for Kate and William to make the transition into their new roles as figureheads of the crown.
It is a move made all the more significant now that Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are out of the picture, having left the royal family and relocated to Los Angeles.
“They are going to be the only visible royals – the face of the royal family,” Dampier says of Wills and Kate.
“Everything is on their shoulders. So it’s going to be a very difficult and stressful period for them but hopefully they will rise to the occasion.”
Before strict social distancing measures were introduced, on March 23, Kate and William visited the London Ambulance Service 111 Control Room and the NHS service in Croydon to thank the frontline workers. However, as numbers in Britain have spiked, the royals have instead resorted to digital modes of communication.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been posting messages of hope and support to their 11.6 million followers on Instagram. On March 27 they added a video of their children,
Prince George, 6, Princess Charlotte, 5, and Prince Louis, 2, applauding nurses and doctors as part of the #ClapForOur Carers initiative from Anmer Hall in Norfolk, where they are isolating. And on April 9, students and staff at Casterton Primary Academy were treated to a surprise video call from the royals.