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What is an investiture? Prince of Wales to carry out duty at Westminster

What is an investiture? Prince of Wales to carry out duty at Westminster

Prince William is reportedly set to assume some of King Charles' duties after it was revealed that the monarch had been diagnosed with cancer.

The 41-year-old Prince of Wales returned to official duties this week after taking some time to support his wife Kate following her abdominal surgery.

William had previously stepped away from public duties to help his wife and care for their three children. While he is returning to work, Kate is expected to remain away from her public duties until Easter.

Alongside some of his regular roles, such as the upcoming investiture at Windsor Castle, the heir to the throne is also expected to carry out other duties on his father's behalf.

It has also been confirmed that Prince William will attend the London Air Ambulance annual fundraising gala, as he's a charity patron.

The royal family often participates in many public events yearly as part of their royal duties. King Charles' next main public event would be on Commonwealth Day in just over a month; however, it's unclear at this point whether the King will attend.

Amid speculation that Prince William will step up for more duties during this time, let's take a look at his upcoming investiture.

Prince William's wife is recovering from surgery (Getty Images)
Prince William's wife is recovering from surgery (Getty Images)

What is an investiture?

An investiture is an honours award ceremony conducted by a member of the Royal Family. Examples of investiture awards include MBEs, OBEs, knighthoods and awards for gallantry.

During an investiture, a member of the Royal Family will present honorees with their awards and congratulate them on their insignia.

Investitures often occur at Buckingham Castle or Windsor and are usually hosted by the King, Princess Royal or the Prince of Wales.

There are usually around 30 investitures held throughout the year, with 60 attendees each.

What happens during an investiture?

Behind the scenes, planning for investitures starts weeks in advance, with the awards and medals being cleaned and prepped before the big day. Honorees will also receive an invite in the post to their upcoming investiture event.

On the event day, honorees and their families will gather at one of the royal residencies to accept their insignia.

The Lord Chamberlain or a Lord in Waiting will then call the honorees to accept their honour. The honoree will then meet either the King or one of the members of the Royal Family to accept their honour.

The King and Prince of Wales during coronation ceremony rehearsals  (BBC/PA) (PA Media)
The King and Prince of Wales during coronation ceremony rehearsals (BBC/PA) (PA Media)

What are Prince William's royal duties?

As first in line for the throne, the Prince of Wales carries out several duties to support the King. These include welcoming Heads of State and attending the annual Trooping the Colour. The prince has also awarded a number of investitures in the past.

Aside from royal duties, William also works with a number of charities and projects related to the environment, homelessness and mental health.

He also previously served in the armed forces for seven years.

Will Prince William stand in for King Charles?

This week, Buckingham Palace confirmed that King Charles had started treatment for cancer. However, the King remains positive about his treatment and will continue some of his royal duties behind the scenes.

The statement read: "His Majesty has today commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties.

"Throughout this period, His Majesty will continue to undertake State business and official paperwork as usual.

"The King is grateful to his medical team for their swift intervention, which was made possible thanks to his recent hospital procedure. He remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible."

Prince William is widely expected to support his father during this time with some official duties.