King Charles vows to ‘serve the Commonwealth to the best of my ability’ amid cancer battle

11 March 2024, 08:29 | Updated: 11 March 2024, 08:30

The King will make his first video address to the public since his cancer diagnosis.
The King will make his first video address to the public since his cancer diagnosis. Picture: Royal Household

By Jenny Medlicott

The King will pledge to serve the Commonwealth to the ‘best of my ability’ in his first video address to the public since his cancer diagnosis.

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King Charles, who has postponed all public-facing duties since his cancer diagnosis last month, is set to release the video in his annual address to mark Commonwealth Day on Monday.

In the video, which will be played at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey later, the King will say he has been “touched” by concerns for his health in the address.

“In recent weeks, I have been most deeply touched by your wonderfully kind and thoughtful good wishes for my health and, in return, can only continue to serve you, to the best of my ability, throughout the Commonwealth," he will say speaking on the 75th anniversary of the organisation.

“My belief in our shared endeavours and in the potential of our people remains as sure and strong as it has ever been.

"I have no doubt that we will continue to support one another across the Commonwealth as, together, we continue this vital journey."

A photograph taken at the time the video was recorded shows the King with slightly bloodshot eyes and redness around his mouth - potentially owing to his ongoing cancer treatment.

Read more: Princess Kate's Mothers' Day family photo pulled by picture agencies over manipulation fears

Read more: First official picture of Kate released following surgery as King Charles pays tribute to late Queen on Mother's Day

It is the King's first video address since his cancer diagnosis was announced.
It is the King's first video address since his cancer diagnosis was announced. Picture: Alamy

His speech will continue: “I cannot say often enough that it is by coming together that we create the best chances to improve our world and the lives of people everywhere.

"As I have said before, the Commonwealth is like the wiring of a house, and its people, our energy and our ideas are the current that runs through those wires.

"Together and individually we are strengthened by sharing perspectives and experiences, and by offering and borrowing the myriad ways we have each tackled the challenges of our time.

"This is true both at the level of nations and, indeed, at the local level. We recognise today that our diversity is our greatest strength."

Palace sources have maintained that the King is in good spirits following his cancer diagnosis, although doctors have urged the monarch to refrain from carrying out public duties - meaning he will not attend Monday’s Commonwealth events.

Queen Camilla and the Prince of Wales will attend the Commonwealth service alongside the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, the Princess Royal, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent.

Among the 2,000 guests will be Commonwealth Secretary-General Baroness Scotland, the president of Malta, foreign ministers, high commissioners, senior politicians and dignitaries from across the Commonwealth, faith leaders and schoolchildren and young people from throughout the UK.

Kensington Palace is facing questions over the image.
Kensington Palace is facing questions over the image. Picture: Kensington Palace

The Princess of Wales will not attend, however, as she continues to recover from abdominal surgery in January.

It comes as Kensington Palace faces questions over a photo released of Kate on Sunday for Mother’s Day.

The photo, which shows Kate with her three children Louis, George and Charlotte, was the first official photo released of the Princess since her surgery to mark Mother's Day.

However, it was later pulled by photo agencies due to concerns the image had been manipulated.

Most notably, Princess Charlotte’s sleeve is partially missing and the edges of her skirt appear blurred in the image.

Sharing the image to mark Mother's Day, Kate said: "Thank you for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months.

"Wishing everyone a Happy Mother's Day."

There is no suggestion that the Princess is not in good health despite the claims.

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