With King Charles III and Catherine sidelined, it’s Camilla’s time to shine

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LONDON: In the past few weeks, as illness has sidelined two of Britain’s most visible royal figures, Catherine, Princess of Wales, and King Charles III, one member of the family’s frontbench has stepped into the vacuum: Queen Camilla.
Last week, she traveled to the Isle of Man to deliver a speech on Charles’ behalf and met with public officials and community groups.She then flew to Northern Ireland, where she visited a bakery and butcher shop, attended a literary event and accepted salutes at a military parade.
Camilla, 76, smiled for the photographers. She betrayed neither the strain of taking care of a cancer-stricken husband, nor that a day later Catherine, who is known as Kate, would announce that she, too, had been diagnosed with cancer.
It is the kind of twist of fate that royal watchers savor: Camilla, the woman whose very existence once seemed to threaten the stability of the royal family, has emerged as a stabilizing force during a major royal health crisis.
With her husband canceling public engagements while he undergoes treatment, and with Kate out for the foreseeable future for chemotherapy, Camilla has taken on high-profile duties. Her trip to Northern Ireland, scheduled before the king became ill, thrust her onto diplomatically delicate terrain, given the territory’s legacy of sectarian violence and its politically fragile government. By all accounts, she performed well.
Camilla is not the only senior royal picking up the load while Charles and Kate are ill. Princess Anne, the king’s sister, has kept up her typically packed diary of royal events. Kate’s husband, Prince William, hopes to return to full-time duties after the Easter holiday, and Charles has continued to meet foreign leaders and hold his weekly session with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Camilla’s emergence does not solve what has become an acute problem for the royal family. She carried out 233 engagements last year, according to The Daily Telegraph, while Charles carried out 425. But both are in their 70s, and the younger generation is not picking up the slack. Even before Kate’s illness, she and William did fewer royal events, citing their young family.
“They’re going to have to change what they do,” said Peter Hunt, a former royal correspondent for the BBC. “In the absence of William and Kate, they don’t have the manpower. They are not going to be able to deliver as they once did.”

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