LONDON, The United Kingdom – In an unprecedented move that underscores a shift in royal protocol, Buckingham Palace announced on Monday, February 5, 2024, that King Charles III, at the age of 75, has been diagnosed with cancer.
This revelation comes as a stark departure from the royal family’s historical practice of keeping health issues private, signaling a new era of transparency under Charles’ reign.
The diagnosis was made public following a recent hospital procedure intended to address a benign prostate enlargement during which “a separate issue of concern was noted,” according to a statement from the palace.
Further tests revealed the presence of cancer, though details regarding the type or stage of the cancer were not disclosed. It was, however, clarified that the diagnosis is not related to prostate cancer.
This news arrives shortly after both King Charles and Kate, Princess of Wales, were seen exiting a private London clinic last week, where the king underwent a “corrective procedure” for his prostate and Kate had abdominal surgery on January 17.
“His Majesty has today commenced a schedule of regular treatments,” the palace’s statement read, adding that the king has been advised by his medical team to postpone all public-facing duties during this period.
King Charles’ decision to share his diagnosis was partly motivated by a desire to preclude speculative rumours about his health and to foster a broader understanding and awareness about cancer, a disease that impacts millions worldwide.
Throughout his life, even before his accession to the throne, Charles has been a vocal supporter of cancer charities and has frequently praised the resilience of cancer patients and the dedication of healthcare professionals.
As the royal family navigates this challenging time, Buckingham Palace has indicated that King Charles began outpatient care in London on Monday, though no further information on his treatment or prognosis will be shared at this moment.
The king’s recent ascension to the throne followed the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in September 2022, marking the end of her historic 70-year reign.
As Charles steps back from his royal obligations, his wife, Queen Camilla, is expected to continue her public engagements without interruption.
In the wake of this announcement, official royal engagements have been postponed or canceled, with apologies extended to those affected.
Notably, Prince William, the Prince of Wales, will resume his royal duties, attending a charity event in London, while Princess Kate’s return to public engagements is anticipated by Easter.
Amidst concerns about the king’s capacity to fulfill his constitutional duties, Buckingham Palace confirmed that no counsellors of state would be appointed, suggesting that King Charles intends to maintain his role as much as his health permits.
Prince Harry, now residing in California after stepping back from senior royal duties, has been in communication with his father following the diagnosis and plans to visit the UK soon, a gesture that highlights the family’s enduring connections despite recent tensions.