A brotherly bond: how Peter Phillips has become Prince William’s closest family member amidst Kate Middleton’s cancer battle

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The royal father-of-two joined the Prince of Wales at the Buckingham Palace Garden Party yesterday; but it’s not the first time the pair have showcased their bond

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Relations between Prince William and Prince Harry may still be frosty, but there is another family member who is reported to have become ‘like a brother’ to the Prince of Wales in recent years.

Peter Phillips, who is the eldest of Queen Elizabeth’s grandchildren, yesterday joined the Prince of Wales at a Buckingham Palace Garden Party. In what could have been a difficult event for Prince William, his first garden party since Kate Middleton stepped back from royal duty amidst her cancer battle, Peter appeared to be in high spirits. The royal, who at 46 is just five years older than William, beamed with joy as he chatted with members of the public on the lawns of the Palace, despite the pouring rain.

It was likely a support which Prince William valued hugely; but it isn’t surprising to see the Princess’ Royal’s son behaving in such a manner with his younger cousin. In recent months, sources have suggested Peter Phillips has become ‘like an older brother to Prince William’ – particularly as the Prince of Wales remains estranged from Prince Harry.

Insiders previously told The Telegraph how Peter has been a steady support to the Prince of Wales over the last few years. They said, ‘He’s always been that sort of slightly older brother to William, ever more so since Harry moved to America.’ Friends also said that he has been trying to ‘support’ Kate and William through the Princess’ cancer diagnosis.

Describing Peter as ‘a laugh’, friends said he has faced a challenging few years. He is the first-born child of the Princess Royal and her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips, to whom she was married from 1973-1992 (the breakdown of their marriage is depicted in The Crown Season 5). Despite being the eldest grandchild of the late Queen Elizabeth II and Duke of Edinburgh, he was not given a royal title at birth because Princess Anne and Captain Phillips wanted their children to lead as normal a life as possible.

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He has spoken of his joyful childhood memories with Prince William in the past, detailing in interviews how they had ‘great fun’ while holidaying together. During one appearance on Good Morning Britain, Peter said, ‘We had great fun growing up on our holidays, going to stay with [Queen Elizabeth II] at Sandringham, Balmoral and Windsor and we were incredibly lucky to be able to share a lot of our childhood time with her.’

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‘We had a lot of fun and there was a lot of space for kids to run around in and it wasn’t just us, it was the Waleses [William and Harry], Freddie and Ella Windsor and the Gloucesters.

‘So there was quite a gang of us growing up in that age and it was a lot of fun. We caused quite a bit of mayhem and chaos but, fortunately, I don’t think we broke too much.’

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Friends said he was ‘horrified’ by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s explosive Oprah Winfrey interview, which took place while Prince Philip was in hospital in 2021. When the Duke of Edinburgh died a month later, sources described Peter as ‘bereft’, adding the two shared a particularly close relationship. The decision to walk between the two warring brothers at Philip’s funeral was said to have been taken so that the sibling rivalry did not overshadow the event. Eighteen months later, he would once again lead the family in mourning upon the death of his grandmother, the late Queen.

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Following Kate’s cancer diagnosis, Peter Phillips gushed about the Wales’s marriage. He told Sky News Australia, ‘Her and William make a fantastic team together. Their kids are great, and they have the balance of public life and trying to be parents to three young children, which is always difficult.’

‘I think, as history has taught us, and anyone knows, you actually want to be there for your children when they’re of a certain age. You want to be able to go drop them off at school and pick them up from school and go and watch matches and be a part of their school lives. And I think that balance of doing the family life and also the public life, I think they’ve pretty much got that, bang on.’

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