London – Buckingham Palace announced earlier today that King Charles III has been diagnosed with cancer. While the specific type and stage of His Majesty’s cancer has not been disclosed, the palace confirmed it is not prostate cancer.
The announcement comes just over a week after the 75-year-old monarch underwent a procedure to treat an enlarged prostate at a private London hospital. It was during this procedure that doctors incidentally discovered a separate issue which led to the cancer diagnosis.
According to the statement released by Buckingham Palace, King Charles III began undergoing regular cancer treatments on Monday and will be reducing his public duties during this time to focus on his health. However, he will continue fulfilling his constitutional role as head of state, including handling government paperwork and private meetings.
The palace added that the King remains upbeat about his treatment and looks forward to resuming his full royal duties as soon as possible.
Both Prince William and Prince Harry were informed about their father’s diagnosis prior to the public announcement. Prince Harry, who currently resides in California, will be travelling to the UK in the coming days to visit the King.
King Charles III Made the Decision to Go Public
In a slightly unusual move, King Charles III made the decision to disclose his cancer diagnosis publicly. According to Buckingham Palace, this decision was made in light of His Majesty’s long history as a patron for various cancer charities during his time as Prince of Wales.
The King has frequently spoken out in support of cancer patients and their families over the years. By choosing transparency regarding his own health situation, he hopes to continue encouraging others, particularly men, to get screened for cancer.
Just last week, King Charles III went public about the prostate procedure he underwent in order to promote awareness of prostate health and prompt more men to get tested. Health organizations reported a significant uptick in visits to their websites for prostate cancer information following the King’s disclosure.
Cancer Is Widespread in the UK
While cancer can affect anyone regardless of status or privilege, it remains an extremely common disease in the general population as well. According to NHS statistics, one in two people in the UK will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime.
The most prevalent cancer types are breast, lung, prostate and bowel. On average, over a third of new cancer cases diagnosed annually in the UK are in people aged 75 and over – the same age group as King Charles III.
Cancer recurrence is also not unusual, even after initial treatments. But ongoing advances in cancer research have led to improved screening, diagnostics, treatments and survival rates.
King Charles III Poised to Continue Royal Duties
Doctors appear to have caught King Charles III’s cancer early. While he undergoes outpatient treatments in the coming weeks, His Majesty will continue handling his official government duties.
These include reviewing government documents and holding his weekly audiences with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Unless physicians advise limiting contact, the meetings are expected to continue in person.
Buckingham Palace has not provided a projected timeline for King Charles III’s recovery and return to a full schedule of public engagements. However, he is still currently scheduled to embark on royal tours to Canada in May and Australia in October.
The palace will provide further guidance on these overseas trips and all other royal events on a case-by-case basis depending on the King’s health.
If at any point His Majesty is unable to perform his official duties, constitutional provisions allow for assigning royal “counsellors of state” to stand in temporarily. This includes Queen Consort Camilla, along with Prince William, Princess Anne and Prince Edward.
Well-Wishes Pour In for the King
News of King Charles III’s cancer diagnosis prompted an immediate outpouring of encouragement and well-wishes from across Britain and around the world.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak offered his thoughts, saying “I know the King, like everyone affected by cancer, will be bolstered by the good wishes of the British public and people right across the Commonwealth.
Labour Party Leader Sir Keir Starmer and Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle also expressed their full support for a speedy recovery.
U.S. President Joe Biden, who lost his son Beau to brain cancer in 2015, conveyed his concern and pledged to call King Charles III directly. He later posted on social media that he and First Lady Jill Biden are praying for His Majesty’s “swift and full recovery” in facing this challenge with “hope and absolute courage.
Medical organizations likewise commended King Charles III for embodying strength and openness throughout his cancer journey so far. In their joint statement, the Royal Society of Medicine said: “The King’s transparency today underscores how cancer affects every one of us – regardless of who we are.”
They encouraged all those due for cancer screenings to schedule appointments promptly, as early detection greatly aids treatment and survival. The King’s candid revelation of his own diagnosis will undoubtedly save lives by reminding people not to delay getting checked.
As King Charles III focuses on his health in the weeks ahead, he will no doubt continue drawing strength from the steadfast support of his family, physicians, and the well-wishers rooting for his full and speedy recovery.