Buckingham Palace announced today that King Charles has been diagnosed with a form of cancer, discovered during recent treatment for an enlarged prostate. The specific type of cancer has not been disclosed, ruling out prostate cancer.
The 75-year-old monarch has commenced “regular treatments” since Monday and will temporarily step back from public duties during this period, according to the Palace statement. Despite the diagnosis, King Charles remains optimistic about his treatment, eagerly anticipating a return to full public duty as soon as possible.
Details regarding the cancer stage or prognosis are being kept confidential. King Charles personally informed both his sons about the diagnosis, with the Prince of Wales maintaining regular contact with his father. Prince Harry, residing in the United States, spoke with his father and plans to travel to the UK in the coming days.
Having returned to London from Sandringham in Norfolk on Monday morning, the King is undergoing outpatient treatment. While public events will be paused, he will continue fulfilling his constitutional role as head of state, engaging in paperwork and private meetings.
In the event the head of state is unable to carry out official duties, a constitutional mechanism allows for the appointment of “counsellors of state” to stand in for the monarch. The current lineup includes Queen Camilla, Prince William, the Princess Royal, and Prince Edward, as Prince Harry and the Duke of York are no longer called upon as non-working royals.
Prince William, who recently withdrew temporarily from public engagements, will resume his duties later this week after assisting his wife, Catherine, the Princess of Wales, in her recovery from abdominal surgery.
The King, seen waving to crowds at a church service in Sandringham on Sunday, had undergone a prostate procedure at a private London hospital over a week ago. Initially characterized as treatment for a “benign” condition, the cancer diagnosis emerged during this intervention.
King Charles chose to make his prostate treatment public to encourage more men to undergo prostate checks, expressing delight at raising awareness on the issue. The NHS website reported a surge in inquiries related to prostate conditions following the King’s disclosure.
The likelihood of developing cancer increases with age, with UK figures indicating that over a third (36%) of new cancer cases each year occur in individuals aged 75 and over. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, and Commons Speaker Sir Lyndsay Hoyle have all extended wishes for the King’s full and speedy recovery.
Buckingham Palace statement in full: