- Written by Sean Coughlan
- Royal correspondent
Buckingham Palace has announced that King Charles has been diagnosed with a form of cancer.
The type of cancer has not been revealed – it is not prostate cancer, but was discovered during his recent treatment for an enlarged prostate.
The palace said the king began “usual treatment” on Monday and will postpone public duties during it.
The statement added that Monarch, 75, “remains completely positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public service as soon as possible.”
No other details about the stage or diagnosis of the cancer are shared.
Charles personally informed his two sons of his diagnosis, and the Prince of Wales was said to be in regular contact with his father.
The Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, who lives in the United States, spoke with his father and will travel to the United Kingdom to see him in the coming days.
The king returned to London from Sandringham in Norfolk on Monday morning and the palace says he has begun treatment as an outpatient.
Although he will temporarily suspend his public events, the king will continue his constitutional role as head of state, including paperwork and private meetings.
It is understood that his weekly meetings with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will continue and be in person, unless doctors advise limiting such contact.
There is a constitutional mechanism for when the head of state is unable to carry out his official duties – in this case “state advisors” can be appointed to replace the king.
Diagnosis of King Charles Cancer
At present this includes Queen Camilla, Prince William, the Princess Royal, and Prince Edward. Prince Harry and the Duke of York will no longer be called out because they are non-working royals.
Prince William has also temporarily withdrawn from public engagements while helping his wife, Catherine, Princess of Wales, as she recovers from abdominal surgery last month.
The king was seen at a church service in Sandringham on Sunday, where he waved to crowds and walked for about 10 minutes.
He had undergone prostate surgery in a private London hospital more than a week ago.
The palace said at the time that the treatment was for a “benign” condition.
“During this intervention a separate issue of concern was noted and was later diagnosed as a form of cancer,” she said on Monday.
The palace said that the king chose to announce his cancer treatment because he was a patron of a number of cancer-related charities when he was Prince of Wales.
“In this capacity, His Majesty has often spoken publicly about supporting cancer patients, their loved ones and the wonderful health professionals who help care for them.”
He has also advertised a prostate treatment, with the aim of encouraging more men to have prostate screenings.
He was said to be happy to raise awareness of the issue, with the NHS website reporting an increase in problems related to prostate disease.
The Royal Society of Medicine thanked the King for highlighting “how random cancer is” and urged members of the public eligible for cancer screenings to make an appointment.
Its president, Dr Jay Verma, said: “Please don't be shy, the more information we have the better to help – hopefully – rule out cancer, or if not, put you on the most appropriate course of treatment.”
One in two people in the UK will develop some type of cancer during their lifetime.
There are more than 200 types of cancer, the most common in the UK being breast, lung, prostate and bowel, according to the NHS website.
For many types of cancer, the chance of developing it increases with age. UK figures show that, on average, each year, more than a third (36%) of new cancer cases were in people aged 75 or over.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wished the king a “full and speedy recovery”, as did Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer and Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle.
In a post on X, he later said: “Diagnosing, treating and surviving cancer requires absolute hope and courage. Jill and I join the people of the United Kingdom in praying for His Majesty to make a speedy and full recovery.”
Biden's son, Beau, died of brain cancer at the age of 46, and his old friend, Republican Senator John McCain, also died of cancer in 2018.
Charles ascended the throne after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in September 2022, and was crowned the following May.
The King and Queen are scheduled to visit Canada in May, and Australia, New Zealand and Samoa to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in October.
The palace has not yet confirmed whether the tours will continue, with no proposed date for the king's return to full public duties.
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Additional reporting by George Bowden
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