Advertisement

Prince William Admits He's Had 'Other Things on My Mind' in Rare Candid Moment at BAFTAs

The Prince of Wales shared that he's watched the "fewest" amount of nominated films this year amid Kate Middleton's surgery and King Charles' cancer diagnosis

<p>Scott Garfitt/Getty</p> Prince William arrives at the 2024 BAFTAs on Feb. 18, 2024

Scott Garfitt/Getty

Prince William arrives at the 2024 BAFTAs on Feb. 18, 2024

Prince William shared a glimpse into the difficult start to the year for the royal family in a candid moment at the 2024 EE BAFTA Film Awards.

The Prince of Wales, who has been president of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts since 2010, gave the insight while speaking with Elaine Bedell, chief executive of the Southbank Centre, as he attended the awards show in London on Sunday. William, 41, admitted that he's watched "the fewest I've ever done before, annoyingly" from this year's nominated movies.

"I've had other things on my mind. It’s been a bit [hand motion] — a bit like that. But hopefully, I'll catch up," he said.

Prince William attended the red carpet event without his usual plus-one: his wife, Kate Middleton, who is recovering from abdominal surgery that took place on Jan. 16. The Princess of Wales, 42, stayed at the hospital for 13 days before heading home to continue her recovery, and she is not expected to return to public duties until after Easter. Although the palace didn't reveal exactly what Princess Kate was being treated for, they specified that the issue was non-cancerous.

Prince William apologized for his wife's absence at this year's awards. "I'm sorry Catherine's not here. She does love the BAFTAs," he said.

"I remember last year about the films that you'd watched," Bedell replied.

"All the ones I watch, she watches with me. So we go through it carefully," William shared.

<p> Jordan Pettitt - WPA Pool/Getty</p> Prince William at the 2024 BAFTAs on Feb. 18, 2024

Jordan Pettitt - WPA Pool/Getty

Prince William at the 2024 BAFTAs on Feb. 18, 2024

Related: Kate Middleton's Surgery 'Does Sound Serious' but 'She Will Bounce Back,' Says Source (Exclusive)

King Charles also started 2024 with health scares. After he "sought treatment for an enlarged prostate" with a procedure in January, the palace announced on Feb. 5 that the King, 75, had been diagnosed with cancer (without elaborating, they noted that it was not prostate cancer). The monarch has continued to work behind the scenes, mainly based at the royal family's Sandringham estate in Norfolk with return trips to London for cancer treatment.

Prince Harry, who resides in California with his wife Meghan Markle and their two children, even made a short trip to the U.K. following news of his father's cancer diagnosis. However, the Duke of Sussex, 39, did not see his older brother during the 24-hour visit to his home country.

Prince William cleared his calendar to be by his wife's side amid her recovery and support their family, including their three children: Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5.

“They are a modern royal couple," Robert Hardman, author of The Making of a King: King Charles III and the Modern Monarchy, recently told PEOPLE. "There would have been more delegation [in the past]. He doesn’t want to leave it all to the nanny."

A close family friend added the couple doesn’t have “a huge private staff,” and “as a result, William is really hands-on."

<p>Chris Jackson/Getty</p> Kate Middleton, Prince William, Prince George, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte at Trooping the Colour 2023

Chris Jackson/Getty

Kate Middleton, Prince William, Prince George, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte at Trooping the Colour 2023

But with King Charles and Princess Kate out of the public eye, it's up to Prince William (and Queen Camilla, 76) to be the face of the monarchy.

“It is hard with Kate being ill as well, but he will step up,” a source close to the royal household told PEOPLE.

Although Prince William may undertake some duties on behalf of his father, there are currently no plans to appoint Counsellors of State to act on King Charles’ behalf. In times of need, the British sovereign can call on these members of the royal family to help manage the monarchy by acting on their behalf through the Letters Patent in the event of temporary incapacity or absence from the U.K.

“He wouldn’t want to put that pressure on William,” said a source. “He has always wanted to save his children from having that pressure too early and that will remain. Particularly as William has other priorities [with Kate].”

Related: Why King Charles' Type of Cancer Has Not Been Disclosed: 'In Time We Might Know,' Says Biographer

<p>Chris Jackson/Getty</p> Queen Camilla, King Charles, Prince William and Kate Middleton at Buckingham Palace on Dec. 5, 2024

Chris Jackson/Getty

Queen Camilla, King Charles, Prince William and Kate Middleton at Buckingham Palace on Dec. 5, 2024

In addition to the BAFTAs, Prince William has made a few royal outings in recent weeks, including on Tuesday when he visited the British Red Cross headquarters as part of his recognition of the work of aid workers amid the human suffering caused by the conflict in the Middle East and the rise in antisemitism.

The Prince of Wales released a rare statement on the crisis in the Middle East and Gaza Strip ahead of his visit.

"I remain deeply concerned about the terrible human cost of the conflict in the Middle East since the Hamas terrorist attack on 7 October," Prince William said in a statement released ahead of his outing. "Too many have been killed."

"I, like so many others, want to see an end to the fighting as soon as possible. There is a desperate need for increased humanitarian support to Gaza. It’s critical that aid gets in and the hostages are released," he added. "Sometimes it is only when faced with the sheer scale of human suffering that the importance of permanent peace is brought home."

Prince William concluded, "Even in the darkest hour, we must not succumb to the counsel of despair. I continue to cling to the hope that a brighter future can be found and I refuse to give up on that."

<p>Kin Cheung - WPA Pool/Getty Images</p> Prince William visits the British Red Cross on Feb. 20, 2024

Kin Cheung - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prince William visits the British Red Cross on Feb. 20, 2024

Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

During the engagement, Prince William also said he was “deeply moved as a father."

A Kensington Palace spokesperson tells PEOPLE that Prince William has followed the region closely since his visit in 2018 when he traveled to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. While he made a previous statement in October, the extent of human suffering led him to make the new statement.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.