King Charles III has been diagnosed with cancer and has begun treatment, Buckingham Palace said Monday without clarifying the type or staging of cancer the newly crowned king of England has been diagnosed with.
However UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said that the cancer was caught early and that he expects the king to soon be back to full strength, according to the BBC.
Less than 18 months into his reign, the 75-year-old King Charles will suspend his public duties but will continue with state business and won’t be handing over his constitutional roles as head of state, a Buckingham Palace statement said.
The cancer diagnosis comes after Charles spent three nights in the hospital last month for a corrective procedure for a benign enlarged prostate.
The palace said a separate issue of concern had been spotted during that hospital stay but did not offer any details other than saying tests had revealed the king had a “form of cancer.”
“Diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer,” the statement read.
Since then, the king has returned home and is following outpatient treatment.
The palace added that the king “has chosen to share his diagnosis to prevent speculation and in hopes it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer.”
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wished King Charles a full and speedy recovery.
“I have no doubt he’ll be back to full strength in no time, and I know the whole country will be wishing him well,” he said.
U.S. State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said that the thoughts of the Biden administration are with Britain’s king and his family.
“That’s incredibly sad news,” Patel told reporters at a regular news briefing.
U.S. President Joe Biden expressed his personal concern and said he planned to call the king later.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “I, like Canadians across the country and people around the world, am thinking of His Majesty King Charles III as he undergoes treatment for cancer.
“We’re sending him our very best wishes – and hoping for a fast and full recovery.”
Canada is a member of the Commonwealth, and the king remains its head of state.
Prince Harry, the king’s estranged younger son, has spoken to his father and will travel to the U.K. to see him in the coming days, the BBC reports.
Harry, the Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have left the U.K. and relocated to California since stepping down from their royal duties in 2020.
King Charles’ cancer diagnosis brings additional stress to the royal duties of a streamlined royal family.
Heir to the throne Prince William has slimmed down his daily duties to care for his family since his wife’s planned abdominal surgery on January 16 and her monthslong anticipated recovery time.
The Prince and Princess of Wales canceled their international engagements until then.
Since the death of Queen Elizabeth II in 2022 and King Charles’ coronation in 2023, polls suggest most Britons have a favorable view of Charles’ reign so far, although younger generations appear much less enthusiastic about the royal family and the expenditures it incurs on its taxpayers.
Some Commonwealth member states have also signaled that they want to cut ties from the British crown.
Prior to King Charles’ recent health issues, the biggest shadow over the royals was the ongoing fallout between Harry and the rest of his family, most notably Harry’s elder brother Prince William.
Ingrid Seward, editor in chief of Majesty Magazine told Reuters that for Charles, a workaholic who often worked until midnight on his papers, his recent health issues would mean he would have to take it more slowly now.
“His body will tell him he has to, and Camilla certainly will,” she told Reuters. “I think he’s mentally exhausted since the death of the queen. It’s been nonstop for him since then,” she said.
Sources: VOA, agencies, BBC.