King Charles III, the British monarch, has announced that he has been diagnosed with cancer and will not be making public appearances in the near future. The King, who ascended to the throne in 2022 after the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II, revealed his condition in a statement on his website on Monday.
Cancer discovered during prostate treatment
The palace said the King’s cancer was not prostate cancer, but was discovered during his recent treatment for an enlarged prostate. The type of cancer has not been disclosed, but the palace said the King began “regular treatments” on Monday as an outpatient. The King “remains wholly positive about his treatment”, the palace said.
The King had chosen to go public about his prostate treatment, with the aim of encouraging more men to get prostate checks, the palace said at the time. He was said to have been delighted to have raised awareness about the issue, with the NHS website reporting a surge in issues about prostate conditions.
Royal family and world leaders offer support
The King informed both his sons personally about his diagnosis and Prince William, the Prince of Wales, was said to be in regular contact with his father. Prince Harry, who lives in the United States, spoke to his father and will be travelling to the UK to see him in the coming days.
The King’s wife, Queen Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, was by his side as he received his diagnosis and treatment. The palace said the Queen was “a constant source of support and comfort” for the King.
The King also received messages of support and sympathy from world leaders, including US President Kamala Harris, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wished the King a “full and speedy recovery”, as did Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Commons Speaker Sir Lyndsay Hoyle.
Senior royals to take over public duties
The King will postpone his public engagements, with senior royals expected to stand in for him. The King “looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible”, the palace said.
There is a constitutional mechanism for when the head of state is unable to carry out official duties – in that circumstance “counsellors of state” can be appointed to stand in for the monarch. At present that includes Queen Camilla, Prince William, Princess Anne and Prince Edward, with Prince Harry and Prince Andrew no longer to be called on as non-working royals.
Prince William had also temporarily withdrawn from public engagements while he helped his wife Catherine, the Princess of Wales, as she recovered from “abdominal surgery”. But it was announced earlier on Monday he would return to public duties later this week.
The King was seen at a church service in Sandringham on Sunday, where he waved to crowds. He had a prostate procedure at a private London hospital more than a week ago.
King Charles III: A brief biography
King Charles III was born on 14 November 1948, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. He was educated at Cheam and Gordonstoun Schools, which his father had attended as a child, as well as the Timbertop campus of Geelong Grammar School in Victoria, Australia.
He was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on 26 July 1958, aged nine. He was formally invested as Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle in July 1969.
He married Lady Diana Spencer on 29 July 1981 and they had two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. The couple divorced in 1996. He married Camilla Parker Bowles on 9 April 2005 and she became the Duchess of Cornwall.
He became the longest-serving heir apparent in British history in 2011, surpassing the record of his great-great-grandfather King Edward VII. He also became the oldest person to be crowned in British history when he succeeded his mother as King in 2022, aged 73.
He is known for his passion for environmental issues, organic farming, and the arts. He is the patron of more than 400 organisations and charities. He is also the founder of The Prince’s Trust, a youth charity that helps young people develop skills and confidence.