The new royal fab four: Prince Charles and Camilla join forces with Kate and William following Megxit drama
Marking the first time they’ve carried out an engagement as a foursome since 2011, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge accompanied Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall on a visit to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Stanford Hall.
In what royal commentator Ingrid Seward describes as a “master PR stroke”, the quartet put on a united front following the recent resignation of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
But what was more touching was the unexpected sight of Charles joking around so openly with his eldest son on the basketball court. The pair’s playful nature squashed long-held rumours of a lack of rapport and closeness between the two future kings.
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“Harry’s departure from royal life has definitely brought the two of them much closer together,” Ingrid exclusively tells OK! “They’ve had something in common to talk about,” she adds, referring to their lengthy discussions behind closed doors concerning the future of the monarchy and the shift in responsibilities now that Harry and Meghan are off the royal rota.
“Charles has been incredibly supportive of William in recent weeks because he has such a lot going on now and their mutual respect for one another has grown immensely,” Ingrid says, adding, “I think losing Harry the way he has will have encouraged Charles to focus on William. Charles tends to jam-pack his diary but he’s now making a real effort to pencil in time for William and will also hope to make time to see more of his grandchildren – Princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte.”
Taking his seat in a wheelchair loaned by one of the patients, William had a go at shooting a few hoops. After three of the competitive duke’s shots went wide of the mark, his chuckling father jokingly massaged his shoulders in commiseration before pushing the wheelchair a few inches closer to the target. When William’s sixth shot hit home, the pair both threw their arms up, perfectly mirroring one another’s jubilant reaction.
Ingrid notes that the heartwarming “father and son” moment is reminiscent of William’s past carefree interactions with his brother Harry. “Charles and William share a great sense of humour. They were joshing in the same kind of way as William and Harry would have done in the past – I expect Harry would have been tipping up the wheelchair!”
Kate, who cheered on her husband’s eventual success was in fits of giggles at Charles’s humorous comments. Despite reports that the future of the monarchy lies heavily on Kate’s shoulders, her big grin didn’t leave her face as she chatted comfortably with Camilla.
The centre rehabilitates some of the most seriously injured members of the British Armed Forces and the four royals checked out some of the therapy areas and the prosthetics workshop.
Kate, 38, who spoke to patients about the important role mental health care has played in their rehabilitation, looked suitably polished in a military style jacket by Alexander McQueen. It was thought she was paying a poignant tribute to the designer on the 10th anniversary of his death.
During the day, Charles, 71, and Camilla, 72, visited five locations on their whistle-stop tour of the region, including Leicester Market and The Cambridge Satchel Company. Camilla also popped along to Leicester General Hospital for the RVS’ Big Trolley Push recruitment campaign.
In other royal news, Kate and William will take their first ever official joint visit to Ireland next month. The couple, who have previously travelled to Northern Ireland on royal engagements, will make the diplomatic trip at the invitation of the Foreign Office from Tuesday 3 March to Thursday 5 March.
Security is expected to be tightened around the visit, as it was when Her Majesty the Queen became the first British monarch to travel there in over 100 years in 2011.
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