Dutiful has many Farseer features; the Fool remarks that Dutiful strongly resembles a young, unscarred Fitz. He is introspective and austere as a result of being brought up by his mother, but also displays bursts of temper and pride. Fitz believes Dutiful is far too trusting when they first meet, but as the prince spends more time with Fitz and Chade he becomes more circumspect with sensitive topics. Unlike the two assassins, however, Dutiful remains distasteful of excessive secrecy.
Dutiful possesses the Wit, though it is unclear where in his lineage it originates from, as Kettricken has also displayed a mild ability for the magic. He also possesses the hereditary magic of the Farseer line, the Skill, though he initially struggles to differentiate his use of the two.
Dutiful displays an almost worshipful attitude towards his father Verity, hungry for any scrap of information he can find about the man. He also confesses a deep loneliness to Fitz, which is driven not only by the father that he never met, but also the lack of any strong male presence in his life. Because of this loneliness and Fitz's connection to Verity, Dutiful quickly attaches himself to Fitz even before he learns of Fitz's true identity. Dutiful also manages to form a strong friendship with Civil Bresinga.
After Verity is discovered in the memory stone quarry in Assassin's Quest, he is reminded of the death of his first child with Kettricken. He fears to leave the kingdom without a Farseer heir, but his body is close to death from the effort of carving his stone dragon. Verity asks Fitz for his life, and Fitz agrees, not realizing what Verity intended. Verity uses the Skill to switch bodies with Fitz and, in Fitz's body, conceives Dutiful with Kettricken.
Despite the fact that Dutiful was conceived with Fitz's body, Fitz considers Dutiful Verity's son in all other aspects. Only Fitz and the Fool know the truth of Dutiful's conception.
Fifteen-year-old Dutiful disappears from Buckkeep Castle, which triggers Fitz's return to Buckkeep in order to rescue him. It is discovered that he possesses the Wit and that his pet mistcat is his Wit-bond partner. Dutiful joins the Piebald faction of Witted in response to increased violence against the Witted in the Six Duchies. Dutiful is ignorant of the fact that the Piebalds are controlling him through the human woman that possesses his cat's body. He is discovered outside of Galekeep by Nighteyes, but manages to escape with the Piebalds.
Nighteyes, Fitz, the Fool, and Huntswoman Laurel pursue Dutiful, eventually attacking the group. Fitz escapes with Dutiful and takes him through a Skill-pillar to an unknown beach. Dutiful refuses to believe what Fitz reveals to him about the woman's spirit inside of his cat. Peladine possesses Dutiful and forces him to attack Fitz. Fitz orders Dutiful to stop fighting; he does so, unaware that he has just had a Skill-command placed upon him. The two begin to bond after Dutiful discovers that Fitz had known Verity. While walking along the beach, Dutiful finds a golden necklace that depicts a naked woman with long black hair who wears an unusual piece of blue jewelry on her head. He manages to keep the figurine when he and Fitz make their escape from the Others.
Fitz and Dutiful return to Buck through the Skill-pillar, but are immediately recaptured by the Piebalds; Dutiful knew of the ambush but was under command from Peladine not to reveal it to Fitz. As part of Fitz's plan to free the Fool and Nighteyes, Dutiful announces his agreement to become a pawn for the Piebalds. However, Fitz then unexpectedly kills Dutiful's mistcat and Peladine with it, devastating him.
During their return to Buckkeep Castle, Dutiful believes he puzzles out Fitz's identity: Fitz is the illegitimate son of Chade Fallstar and Lady Thyme. Dutiful also asks Fitz to teach him the Skill, to which Fitz responds that he can only teach Dutiful secretly and sporadically, as he himself was taught by Verity. Dutiful arrives at Buckkeep Castle in time to greet the Narcheska Elliania Blackwater, his intended Outislander bride.
Dutiful is unimpressed with Elliania when they meet, complaining that her impeccable manners make her seem like she has little personality of her own. He begins to warm to her after an unintentional slight flares her temper and she begins to stand up for herself more.
Dutiful begins learning the Skill from Fitz, though he has difficulty controlling the breadth and intensity of his thoughts at first. He is also initially disappointed when Thick is included in his lessons, but learns to treat Thick with kindness, eventually winning Thick's loyalty and trust.
When Fitz is gravely injured after saving Civil Bresinga's life, Dutiful, Chade, Thick, and the Fool perform a Skill-healing on him, which leaves him indisposed for many days. During this time, Dutiful learns of Fitz's true identity from Kettricken.
At her departure from Buckkeep, Elliania announces that she will refuse to accept Dutiful's hand in marriage unless he completes a task for her. Dutiful immediately accepts her challenge, and she reveals that she wants him to bring the head of the dragon Icefyre to the hearth of her motherhouse. Despite the misgivings of his mother and advisors, Dutiful promises to complete the task, and challenges her in return to accompany him on the journey. Elliania agrees, and the two formalize their intent to marry.
Before setting off for the Out Islands, Fitz gifts Dutiful with Verity's sword. Dutiful is delighted to give Fitz Chivalry's sword in return.
When he arrives in the Out Islands and meets the Hetgurd, Dutiful is surprised at their mixed reception to him. He becomes uneasy when their opposition to him slaying Icefyre perturbs the meeting. However, he and Fitz work together to Skill out Dutiful's need to urinate throughout those present, bringing the meeting to a hasty end and ensuring themselves time to think of a diplomatic solution.
Peottre Blackwater urges Dutiful to visit Elliania's motherlands on the island of Mayle. Coincidentally, they arrive on the same evening that Elliania is to be recognized as an adult woman, having experienced her menarche. Dutiful finds it difficult to reconcile the value the Six Duchies places on chastity before marriage with the Outislander acceptance of female sexual appetites. When he is accosted by Elliania's female cousins and friends, he inadvertently embarrasses Elliania further when he refuses to consider acting on his attraction to her. His feelings for her have grown stronger, however, as he acknowledges to both Peottre and Elliania herself.
Dutiful insists that his Wit coterie be included in the reduced group that will accompany him to Aslevjal, much to Chade's displeasure. Dutiful is forced to control rising tensions as the unexpected appearance of the Fool and the Black Man's apparent rejection of their offering divides the group's resolve about the task of killing Icefyre.
On the day of his marriage to Elliania, Dutiful is honored by the dragons Tintaglia and Icefyre, and the next day he is declared King-in-Waiting by his dukes.
Dutiful reigns as King of the Six Duchies. He and Elliania have two sons, the Princes Prosper and Integrity. However, Elliania is saddened that she has not managed to birth a female child, as she wishes to send a daughter back to her motherhouse.
At Winterfest, Dutiful announces Fitz's identity to the gathered court, acknowledging him for his service to the Farseer throne.