Prince William Just Took A Big First Step In His Royal Career

Though Prince William always knew he would be king one day, he likely didn't expect he'd have to pick up so much of his family's slack before he even got to the throne. First, there was the abrupt departure of his brother, Prince Harry, and his wife, Meghan Markle, who unexpectedly gave up their royal duties and moved to Santa Barbara. While William didn't necessarily have to manage any of Harry's abandoned workload, he did have to step up and do his best to make the family look like a peaceable cohesive unit despite what Harry told Oprah.

With Harry out of the picture, Will became the de facto face of a more modern royal family. In addition to fielding questions about his rift with Harry, he's also undertaken several highly publicized press trips, including a controversial tour through the Caribbean with his wife, Kate Middleton.

If William was hopeful he might get a break sometime soon, it appears he's going to be disappointed. As the queen's health continues to deteriorate, she has been forced to step away from many royal engagements. As a result, she's been leaning on William more than ever, and giving him some pretty serious responsibilities.

Prince William is taking on more senior duties

As Prince William inches closer to the throne, Queen Elizabeth has started outsourcing some of her more important royal duties to her grandson. While William has undertaken his fair share of royal tours and always made an appearance at holiday services, it was only recently that he got the green light to represent the queen on matters of royal diplomacy.

Following the death of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the United Arab Emirates, in May, Queen Elizabeth asked William to visit Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and offer condolences on her behalf. William flew to Abu Dhabi to meet with the new president, the late Sheikh's half-brother, per Express. This is the sort of royal duty that Queen Elizabeth has generally reserved for herself or her immediate heir, Prince Charles. The Daily Mail's royal editor Rebecca English called this "a significant step up for William" on Twitter. Until now, he had not been tasked with such a heavy responsibility.

Though this was a big move for William, eyes remain on the queen, who's rapidly deteriorating health has been the subject of speculation for months. After contracting COVID-19 earlier this year, she has been seen in public less and less. On May 16, a palace source confirmed to the Daily Mail that the queen's health was still in trouble, claiming she has "good and less good days." Though she seemed in good spirits during a May appearance at a Platinum Jubilee celebration, it seems likely we'll see William filling in a lot more in the future.