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What we know about Prince William missing godfather’s memorial service

The Prince of Wales unexpectedly pulled out of a memorial service for the late King Constantine of Greece.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: Prince William, Prince of Wales attends the 2024 EE BAFTA Film Awards at The Royal Festival Hall on February 18, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
The Prince of Wales pulled out of a memorial service for his godfather on Tuesday, (Getty)

The Prince of Wales pulled out of attending a memorial service for the late King Constantine of Greece on Tuesday, raising questions about his reasons for doing so.

William was due to deliver a reading at the service in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, but called the Greek royal family to let them know he was unable to attend.

William’s absence has sparked concerns for his wife, after she was admitted for surgery last month. The cancellation also follows the news that his father, King Charles, is being treated for cancer.

Yahoo News breaks down what we know – and don’t know – about William’s decision to miss Tuesday’s service.

FILE - Britain's Prince William, The Prince of Wales, listens as he visits the British Red Cross at its headquarters in London, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. Kensington Palace says Britain's Prince William has pulled out of attending a memorial service for his godfather, the late King Constantine of Greece, because of a personal matter. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, Pool, File)
Prince William missed the service over a ‘personal matter’. (Alamy)

What we know

Confirmed details are very scarce – all we really now for sure is that William did not attend the memorial service. Kensington Palace said this was because of a “personal matter” but would not elaborate further. However, the palace said William’s wife Kate, who is recovering from abdominal surgery, is continuing to do well.

The Princess of Wales was admitted to a private hospital last month for her surgery but details about that have also been scarce. As well as the nature of her condition, there has been a lack of regular updates on her recovery.

Britain's Catherine, Princess of Wales and Britain's Prince George of Wales (L) leave after attending the Royal Family's traditional Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham Estate in eastern England, on December 25, 2023. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
The Princess of Wales is recovering following abdominal surgery in January. (Getty)

However, we do know that Kate is away from official royal engagements until after Easter and that William is taking on royal duties alone while she rests at home. His absence from the service was very last minute and we know he was expected to attend due to his name being on the order of service.

William’s absence was also particularly relevant due to William’s closeness to the Greek royal family. Constantine II of Greece was William’s godfather, second cousin to the King, and a first cousin once removed and sailing partner of the late Duke of Edinburgh. Constantine died at the age of 82 in Athens in January last year, decades after being toppled from the throne in a military coup.

The British Royal Family was led by Queen Camilla at the St George's Chapel service, which was also attended by the Duke of York and his ex-wife Sarah; their daughter Princess Beatrice with husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi; the Princess Royal and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, Zara and Mike Tindall and the King’s cousin Lady Sarah Chatto.

Prince and Princess Michael of Kent also attended, with Constantine the godfather to their daughter Lady Gabriella Kingston. She did not attend and it later emerged Lady Gabriella’s husband Thomas Kingston died suddenly on Sunday.

Dozens of foreign royals – including Constantine's widow Queen Anne-Marie, their children and some of their grandchildren – travelled to Windsor to attend the service but King Charles did not meet them privately. Constantine’s eldest son Crown Prince Pavlos stepped in to give the reading in William’s place.

What we don't know

Due to the lack of details from the palace, it is left to guesswork and speculation from royal experts to understand the possible reasons why William missed the service. Details remain unconfirmed and the previous statements and scant details released by the palace suggests we may not find out the reasons behind the absence.

Sarah Hewson, the royal editor for talkTV, believes the Royal Family felt they had no choice but to release a statement, despite not wanting the news to be made public. She said: "They don't like to let people down at the last minute, and they certainly wouldn't have wanted that public announcement that he'd had to pull out, either because of the questions it stands to raise."

Britain's Queen Camilla attends the Thanksgiving Service for King Constantine of the Hellenes at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, England, on Tuesday Feb. 27, 2024. Constantine II, Head of the Royal House of Greece, reigned as the last King of the Hellenes from 6 March 1964 to 1 June 1973, and died in Athens at the age of 82. (Chris Jackson/Pool via AP)
The Queen attended the Thanksgiving Service for King Constantine at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle on Tuesday. (PA)

Grant Harrold, the former butler to the King, said William pulling out was “extremely concerning” as the royal household believes that “duty comes before everything and anything within reason”. He said that he felt that it was “unusual” and “something is not right”.

Harrold told GB News that he believes the absence was “possibly something to do with the Princess of Wales”, because of her surgery and the fact that there has not been many details since that news broke. He added: “Of course if could be as simple as one of the children has come down with a cold or flu or something. But what I think is it’s possibly something to do with the princess and I just hope its not anything too serious.“

The Prince of Wales during a visit to the British Red Cross at its headquarters in central London, to hear about the humanitarian efforts taking place to support those affected by the conflict in Gaza. Picture date: Tuesday February 20, 2024.
Royal experts can only speculate on the reasons behind Prince William missing the service on Tuesday, (Alamy)

Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams also described the cancellation as “very strange” and “unexpected”. He told MailOnline: Constantine was his godfather and very close to all the royals, particularly King Charles, and he would have wanted William there as he didn't attend. William only lives a stone's throw away, so it's very concerning.”

Sky News’ royal correspondent Rhiannon Mills said William’s team “are doing everything they can to try and stop speculation about what the personal reason is for his decision to pull out”. However she said that reporters have been “reassured there is no need for alarm”.

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