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King Charles diagnosed with cancer, Buckingham Palace says

By Laura Odfjell

Data extracted from

Perry, Simon. “King Charles Seen in London After Missing Church Service for Greek King.” People, 28 February 2024,  Accessed 29 February 2024.

                     King Charles seen in London (Perry, People, 28 February 2024) 

It has been announced by Buckingham Palace that England's monarch has been diagnosed with a form of cancer, while the type of cancer hasn't been revealed- officially, it is not prostate cancer, although the cancer was discovered during one of his recent treatments for an enlarged prostate. 

No further details are being shared on the state of the cancer or a prognosis but King Charles has informed both his sons personally about his diagnosis and the Prince of Wales, Prince Williams, has said to be in regular contact with his father. 

The Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, currently residing in the United States, has spoken to his father and will be travelling to the UK with the intent of visiting his father in the next coming days 

The Monarch has begun treatment on Monday and will postpone public duties during it, the Palace states. While King Charles has added: "remains wholly positive about this treatment and looks forward to returning to fully public duty as soon as possible.

The King returned to London from Sandringham to Norfolk on Monday morning and the palace says he has fully begun treatment. Although he will be distanced from public events, the Monarch will continue with his constitutional role as head of state, including paperwork and private meetings.

His weekly audiences with Prime Minister Rishi Sunal will continue to run and will be in person, unless doctors advise otherwise, limiting such contact. There is a constitutional mechanism for when the head of state is unable to carry out official duties, as a consequence "counsellors of state" can be appointed to stand in for the monarch.

The counsellors of state now include Queen Camilla, Prince William, the Princess Royal, and Prince Edward. Prince Harry and the Duke of York are no longer called upon as they are non-working royals. 

Prince William has also temporarily withdrawn from public engagements while he assists his wife Catherine, the Princess of Wales, as she recovers from an abdominal surgery she had last month. However, it was announced earlier on Monday that he would return to public duties later this week. 

The King was seen at a church service in Sandringham on Sunday, where he engaged in waving to crowds. 

He had a prostate procedure at a private London Hospital more than a week ago. At the time, the Palace said the treatment was for benign conditions, "It was during this intervention that a separate issue of concern was noted, and subsequently diagnosed as a form of cancer ". 

The King chose to go public about his cancer treatment, as he had been a patron of a number of cancer-related charities when he was Prince of Wales. "In this capacity, His Majesty has often spoken publicly to support cancer patients, their loved ones and the wonderful health professionals who help care for them."

Charles has also gone public about his prostate treatment, intending to encourage more men to get prostate checks and break the taboo concerning the practice. He was said to have been delighted to have raised awareness about the issue, with the NHS website reporting a surge of issues about prostate conditions. 


The Royal Society of Medicine thanked the Monarch for shining light on "how cancer is indiscriminate" and urged members of the public eligible for cancer screenings to make an appointment. "Please don't be shy- the more information we have the better to help and hopefully rule out cancer, or, if not, put you in the most suitable treatment pathway", stated Dr Jay Verma, president of the general practice with primary healthcare section of the Royal Society of Medicine.  

One in two people in the UK developed some kind of cancer during their lifetime, there are more than 200 types of cancer- the most common ones being breast, lung, prostate and bowel, according to the NHS website. Age increases the rate of diagnosis for many kinds of cancer, UK figures suggest that on average each year more than a third of new cancer cases are in people aged  75 and over. 

​Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wished the King a "full and speedy recovery", as did Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle.

US President Joe Biden expressed concern and said he would speak to the King.  In a post on X, he later said: "Navigating a cancer diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship takes hope and absolute courage. Jill and I join the people of the United Kingdom in praying that His Majesty experiences a swift and full recovery."

Mr Biden's son, Beau, died of brain cancer aged 46, and his long-time friend, Republican Senator John McCain, also died of cancer in 2018. Charles acceded to the throne on the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022, and his coronation took place the following May.

The King and Queen are scheduled to visit Canada in May, and Australia, New Zealand and Samoa for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in October. The Palace has yet to confirm whether the tours will go ahead, with no date suggested for the King's return to full public duties.


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