Buckingham Palace has announced that King Charles III has been diagnosed with cancer, necessitating immediate treatment that will temporarily suspend his public duties. The palace has not disclosed the specific type of cancer but clarified that it is not prostate cancer. The cancer was discovered during a recent treatment at the London Clinic for a benign enlarged prostate.
Treatment and Impact on Public Duties
Despite this medical setback, King Charles maintains a positive outlook regarding his treatment. He has commenced regular outpatient treatments while continuing with his constitutional role as the head of state, managing paperwork, red boxes, and private meetings.
The monarch personally informed his sons, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Sussex, about his diagnosis, along with his three siblings, the Princess Royal, Duke of Edinburgh, and Duke of York. Prince Harry, upon learning of his father’s diagnosis, will be traveling to the UK in the coming days, while Meghan remains in the US with their two children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.
Buckingham Palace Statement
Buckingham Palace released a statement, stating, “During the king’s recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted. Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer. 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.”
Public Appearances and Engagements
The king has returned to London from Sandringham to begin outpatient treatment, and it is expected that he will still be available for Privy Council meetings, although the details of how they will take place are yet to be determined. Alternative arrangements may also be made for his weekly audience with the prime minister to minimize in-person contact if advised by doctors. King Charles was last seen in public at Sandringham, Norfolk, attending a church service with the queen, marking his first appearance since his discharge from the London Clinic.
Expressing regret for the medical decision to postpone his upcoming public duties after the cancer diagnosis, a palace spokesperson conveyed, “Regrettably, a number of the king’s forthcoming public engagements will have to be rearranged or postponed. His Majesty would like to apologize to all those who may be disappointed or inconvenienced as a consequence.” Details of the king’s revised diary are still being worked out, and it remains uncertain when a full program of engagements will resume. However, Buckingham Palace has confirmed that the queen will continue with her full program of public duties.
This postponement of public-facing engagements coincides with Catherine, Princess of Wales, recovering at home following planned abdominal surgery, also at the London Clinic. Her medical details remain private, but her condition is reported to be non-cancerous. With both King Charles and Princess Catherine temporarily out of action, the monarchy faces challenges due to the reduced number of working royals, particularly after the departure of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Kensington Palace announced that the Prince of Wales, who took time off while his wife was in the hospital, would resume public duties this week. He is scheduled to conduct an investiture at Windsor Castle and participate in a gala fundraising event for the London air ambulance in the evening.
Support and Well-Wishes
Leaders from various political backgrounds and nations expressed their well wishes for King Charles during this difficult time. The UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, wished him a full and speedy recovery and assured that the whole country was rooting for his quick return to health. Labour leader Keir Starmer also extended his best wishes to the king for a swift recovery.
US President Joe Biden, who had personally experienced the challenges of cancer with his son Beau’s battle, expressed concern about King Charles’ diagnosis and planned to call him later. He emphasized the importance of hope and courage in navigating a cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Former US President Donald Trump, who had known King Charles during his presidency, conveyed his prayers for a fast and complete recovery. Various UK and regional leaders also sent their best wishes for the king’s health and recovery, expressing their support and solidarity during this challenging period.
A Royal Health Update
Throughout his life, King Charles has generally enjoyed good health. The first signs of any significant concern arose when Buckingham Palace announced on January 17th that he had sought treatment for an enlarged prostate. It was emphasized that his condition was benign, and he was scheduled to undergo a corrective procedure the following week.
King Charles checked into the London Clinic on January 26th and was discharged on January 29th, the same day Catherine was also discharged. During an engagement at a Maggie’s cancer support centre at the Royal Free hospital in London, the queen assured well-wishers that Charles was “getting on, doing his best.”
King Charles’ decision to share details of his benign prostate diagnosis aims to encourage other men experiencing symptoms to seek medical attention promptly, reflecting his commitment to raising awareness about health issues.
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