King Charles' cancer diagnosis: everything we know so far as Harry rushes home and William and Camilla to step up

6 February 2024, 15:31

King Charles' cancer diagnosis: everything we know so far
King Charles' cancer diagnosis: everything we know so far. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

King Charles revealed on Monday that he had been diagnosed with cancer after his recent hospital stay.

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The palace said that Charles would begin his cancer treatment in London and would continue some duties, while stepping back from public-facing work.

The King told his family before the public announcement on Monday evening. Prince Harry has flown back to the UK, arriving on Tuesday to spend time with his father.

It comes after Charles underwent treatment earlier this year for an enlarged prostate, although officials said that the King does not have prostate cancer.

Here's everything we know about Charles' cancer so far.

Read more: Harry appears sombre as he arrives at Clarence House to be at father King Charles' side amid shock cancer diagnosis

Read more: Andrew Marr: King Charles' willingness to be so open about his cancer diagnosis is characteristic of the man

King Charles
King Charles. Picture: Twitter

What kind of cancer does Charles have?

The specific details of Charles' illness remain private so far.

The palace has not revealed what part of Charles' body is affected by cancer - although we know that it is not prostate cancer.

Officials have also not said what stage the cancer is at, or what Charles' prognosis is.

Rishi Sunak said on Tuesday that Charles' cancer had been caught at an early stage.

King Charles
King Charles. Picture: Alamy

How was Charles diagnosed with cancer?

Charles' cancer was discovered when he went into hospital in January for treatment on his enlarged prostate.

It is unclear what kind of tests were performed on the King, although scans, biopsies and blood tests can all be used to diagnose cancer.

King Charles III departs with Queen Camilla after receiving treatment for an enlarged prostate at The London Clinic on January 29
King Charles III departs with Queen Camilla after receiving treatment for an enlarged prostate at The London Clinic on January 29. Picture: Getty

What kind of treatment will Charles undergo?

Charles began "a schedule of regular treatments" in London on Monday, officials said.

The palace has not said whether Charles will be treated, although common cancer treatments include chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Officials have not revealed where the King will be treated, to give him some privacy.

King Charles
King Charles. Picture: Getty

Who is on Charles' medical team?

The head of the Charles' medical household is Michael Dixon, a former GP, fellow of the Royal College of GPs, fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, former chairman of NHS Alliance; and chairman of the College of Medicine.

The King's Serjeant Surgeon - the senior surgeon in the royal household - is Ranan Dasgupta, a urologist based at private hospital the London Clinic, where Charles underwent treatment for his enlarged prostate.

King Charles
King Charles. Picture: Getty

Do monarchs usually speak out about their medical issues?

Royals traditionally do not disclose their medical problems, which are usually considered private matters.

Charles' openness with his prostate issue has been credited with encouraging many other men to get checked.

After he revealed his cancer diagnosis on Monday, some praised him for his transparency and hoped that it would lead to others getting tests if they feel concerned about their own health.

When Charles' grandfather George VI had an entire lung removed because of cancer in 1951, his doctors are said not to have even told him the true nature of his illness, let alone the wider public.

Royal historian analyses revelation of King Charles's cancer diagnosis

How has Charles' family reacted?

Charles' close family is said to have been told of his diagnosis before the announcement was made on Monday evening.

Prince Harry, who is largely estranged from his father and most of his family, flew back to the UK on Tuesday to spend time with Charles, arriving shortly after midday. He arrived at Clarence House in London at around 3pm on Tuesday.

Harry's wife Meghan and their two children Archie and Lilibet have stayed at their Montecito mansion in California.

Prince William, who has taken time off from public duties this year to care for his wife Kate after she underwent abdominal surgery, is now back to work himself.

Queen Camilla is also expected to step up her public engagements as Charles undergoes treatment and recuperates.

Andrew Marr discussing King's cancer diagnosis with Shelagh Fogarty

Some have speculated that a 'silver lining' of Charles' diagnosis may be that it brings him and William closer with Harry again.

Ingrid Seward, a royal commentator, told LBC's Andrew Marr that "often it takes an illness, or a death, to solder these very tricky family relationships.

"But of course the death of the Queen didn't solder it together, but perhaps the worry of their father will - but I really find it very difficult to speculate."

Grant Harrold, a former butler to King Charles, said that he had "no doubt" that the King's' diagnosis would bring the family closer together again.

He added: "I know how much [Harry] loves his father, so it doesn't surprise me if he's returning to the UK."