Mr Craig – Yesterday Buckingham Palace announced that King Charles has cancer. What does this mean for the royal family?

First of all I would like to wish the king all the best for a speedy and complete recovery. As serious as it may be, the diagnosis means that Buckingham Palace has to think about how much work, for example, Prince William can take on from now on in the short, medium and long term, and what that change will look like in the near future. months and years mean to the institution both on an operational, organizational and symbolic level.

What does the diagnosis mean for her son William and his role as heir to the throne?

This means a lot more work for William. It was reported that Charles will continue to do much of his formal office work, or so-called red box paperwork. But Prince William will be taking on much more pressing duties – as if in the next few years, anyway. I honestly can't imagine Charles ever going back to his previous workload, no matter what the final prognosis is.

The King is not the only one struggling with health problems, Duchess Kate also recently had to undergo stomach surgery. How will William cope with the double burden of his wife and father's ill health, and his royal duties at the same time?

King Charles had long ago announced that his goal was to slim down the royal family. It is therefore inevitable that Prince William will have more and more work to do. He had to consider a double burden. Almost nothing has been reported about Princess Kate's illness. I don't want to speculate on that because in the end we don't know anything. I would suspect that other members of the family, such as Princess Anne, perhaps Prince Edward, who has performed countless royal duties over the years, would step in to fill the void.

And could Prince Harry step in? It is known that relations with him are strained.

I can't imagine that at all. Harry and Meghan have repeatedly made it clear that they do not want to return as active members of the royal family. On the other hand, I imagine that some sort of reconciliation is taking place. To put it somewhat cynically, I suspect that the way Charles announced his illness – along with a possible reconciliation with Harry – could do no harm to the image of the King and the Royal Family.

Robert Craig, cultural and literary scholar at the Institute of English and American Studies at the Otto Friedrich University in Bamberg.


Robert Craig, cultural and literary scholar at the Institute of English and American Studies at the Otto Friedrich University in Bamberg.
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Image: Private

Harry landed in Britain early, less than 24 hours after Buckingham Palace announced his illness, according to media reports. How does this news of cancer affect the family?

It is clear that relations in the immediate family circle have not always been very good in recent years. Moreover, Prince Harry's return from the US to the UK has actually led to much more speculation in the press. For example, last night there was speculation on Twitter that the diagnosis and prognosis could be much more serious. So serious that Prince Harry would also fly back to Britain. But fortunately, according to the Prime Minister, the cancer was discovered relatively early.

They prefer a more open communication style. This is the new tone of the royal family. In the past, the health status of the royal family was always kept a secret. Where did the change of heart come from?

It must be said that it is in line with the personal brand he has built up over the decades. A brand characterized by openness and a desire to express a certain solidarity with British citizens. I am a Republican myself and I am rather skeptical of this institution. Still, I found his decision to share his diagnosis like this very impressive. You're right, that style is quite different from her mother's. In the weeks and months after her death, the book “Elizabeth. An Intimate Portrait' revealed that the Queen suffered from bone marrow cancer in her last years. But it remained a secret. This secrecy was consistent with his lifelong attitude of discretion. With Charles, it's a completely different story and it's well received by the public. Opinion polls show that it has become increasingly popular in recent months and years. Charles has said the reason he shared his diagnosis was to avoid speculation. But, of course, this has by no means prevented speculation.

What does this disease mean for the country and the British monarchy? Will the country now unite behind its ailing monarch?

I would say that the diagnosis and its communication will strengthen the popularity and legitimacy of the monarchy and the royal family, at least in the short and medium term. But I think the diagnosis also reminds us how strange it is when someone waits seven decades to do the job they were born to do, but can't do it in the first few years of their term. One might think that the fact that family members now have to step in to fulfill some of these responsibilities further emphasizes the absurdity of this institution.

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