The Royal Family health crisis continues this evening as King Charles III has been diagnosed with cancer. His diagnosis comes just days after he had been treated at the London Clinic for an enlarged prostate last week.
The full statement from Buckingham Palace reads:
“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.
“His Majesty has chosen to share his diagnosis to prevent speculation and in the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer.”
No further details have been released on the prognosis, type, or severity of the cancer at this stage.
It’s believed that the King informed both his sons Prince William and Prince Harry personally today. Prince William is in regular contact with his father and Prince Harry will be travelling to the U.K. to see him in the coming days. Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex and their two children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, will be staying in the U.S.
Well-wishes have been pouring in from around the world. U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is “Wishing His Majesty a full and speedy recovery. I have no doubt he’ll be back to full strength in no time and I know the whole country will be wishing him well.” It is expected that the prime minister will still meet with the King every week and receive red boxes and paperwork that he spends up to two hours a day reading.
The King will also continue his constitutional function as Head of State. There is no sign of counsellors of state — those who stand in for the King when he is unable to perform his constitutional function, consisting of the Queen, Prince William, Princess Anne, Prince Edward, Princess Beatrice, Prince Andrew and Prince Harry — being brought in yet. As non-working Royals, it is unlikely that Prince Andrew and Prince Harry will be called upon.
King Charles was last seen in public over the weekend when he attended church near Sandringham in Norfolk with the Queen. He then travelled from Sandringham to London to begin treatment this morning. As the King takes time off for treatment, he will no longer be seen performing his public duties in the near future.
Prince William will be back on Royal duties this week, taking part in investitures in Windsor on Wednesday morning, where he will reward members of the public and other prominent individuals with honours that are either awarded at New Year, or to mark the monarch’s birthday. Later in the day, he will attend the London Air Ambulance annual fundraiser, an organization he is passionate about, having served as an air ambulance pilot in East Anglia.
The Queen has been busy with engagements over the last week and is expected to be seen along with the Duchess of Edinburgh, and Princess Anne soaking up Royal engagements going forward.
The Royal tours on the slate for the King and Queen Camilla — with trips to Canada in May and Australia in October — are now in doubt in light of recent events.
As with his last diagnosis of an enlarged prostate, the level of access and information that Buckingham Palace has provided is unprecedented as this new phase of the Monarchy is seeing a sense of transparency and openness.
Additionally, the King is using his platform to raise awareness around health conditions. Upon revealing his initial diagnosis, the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) website saw a large increase in searches for the condition, with traffic to the page on enlarged prostate receiving a hit every five seconds.
The King is the Patron of Macmillan Cancer Support in the U.K. along with many cancer charities, and his diagnosis will likely shed light on the positive work of the organizations.
According to the NHS, one in two people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime, with more than a third of new cancer cases occurring in people aged 75 and older.