King Charles diagnosed with cancer and postpones public duties to begin immediate treatment

5 February 2024, 18:01 | Updated: 5 February 2024, 19:14

King Charles has been diagnosed with cancer
King Charles has been diagnosed with cancer. Picture: Twitter/Alamy

By Christian Oliver and Kit Heren

King Charles has been diagnosed with a 'form of cancer', Buckingham Palace has announced.

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Charles does not have prostate cancer, the palace said, although it was discovered during his recent treatment for an enlarged prostate.

No details have yet been shared on the kind of cancer the king has, the stage of the cancer, or his prognosis.

A statement from the palace said: "During The King's recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted. Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer.

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Read more: Read it in full: Buckingham Palace's statement as King Charles diagnosed with cancer

Charles has cancer, the palace said
Charles has cancer, the palace said. Picture: Twitter

"His Majesty has today commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties.

"Throughout this period, His Majesty will continue to undertake State business and official paperwork as usual."

Buckingham Palace announced Charles' cancer on Monday evening
Buckingham Palace announced Charles' cancer on Monday evening. Picture: Twitter

"The King is grateful to his medical team for their swift intervention, which was made possible thanks to his recent hospital procedure. He remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible.

"His Majesty has chosen to share his diagnosis to prevent speculation and in the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer."

Harry is said to have spoken to Charles about his diagnosis. He is expected to fly back to the UK to spend time with his father.

News of Charles' diagnosis was followed by politicians from across the spectrum wishing him well.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: "Wishing His Majesty 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."

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: "On behalf of the Labour Party, I wish His Majesty all the very best for his recovery.

"We look forward to seeing him back to swift full health."

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle told MPs: "I know the whole House will wish to join me in expressing our sympathies with His Majesty the King following the news announcement this evening.

"Our thoughts are, of course, with His Majesty and his family, and we'd all wish to send him our very best wishes for the successful treatment and a speedy recovery following tonight's news."

In Northern Ireland, Jeffrey Donaldson said: "Sending His Majesty the King every good wish as he commences his treatment.

"We pray for a full and speedy recovery."

Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf and Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford also sent their best wishes to Charles.

Former prime ministers Boris Johnson and Liz Truss also wished Charles a speedy recovery.

Mr Johnson said: "The whole country will be rooting for the King today. Best wishes to Charles III for a full and speedy recovery."

Ms Truss wrote on Twitter: "Sending every best wish to His Majesty The King and the Royal Family as he undergoes his treatment for cancer. He will be in our thoughts and prayers. God Save The King!"

King Charles with Camilla on Sunday
King Charles with Camilla on Sunday. Picture: Getty

Cancer experts told LBC that the fact that Charles had already begun treatment for cancer was a positive sign.

Professor Pat Price, oncologist and co-founder of the 'Catch Up with Cancer' campaign, said: "I think the fact that some treatment has been started is all very good news. And we also know that [with] half of all cancers, people survive ten years.

"And obviously, this has been caught early before he had any symptoms. So I think in a great place, obviously a worrying time, and a worrying time for everybody.

"But I think so good that they've introduced this, having the conversation and getting cancer back up there on the agenda. This is very important and very brave for them to do this, and really important for the nation."

King Charles diagnosed with cancer aged 75

Grant Harrold, a former butler to King Charles, told LBC's Andrew Marr that the King is "a very calm, collected individual... when things get thrown at him, he just gets on with it, and would stay relatively calm and relaxed about situations."

Mr Harrold suggested that Charles would likely stay at Highgrove during treatment, before going to Scotland later in his recuperation.

The King underwent a “corrective procedure” for an enlarged prostate on January 26, the palace said at the time.

He also extended his stay at the private hospital, but then appeared in good spirits three days later as he climbed into a waiting car last week to return home.

Queen Camilla said that Charles was "fine" after he underwent treatment on his prostate.

Camilla visited him several times during his hospital stay and told reporters "he's fine, thank you" as she left.

His diagnosis is just the latest health scare to affect the royals family at the start of 2024.

The Princess of Wales underwent major abdominal surgery and Sarah, Duchess of York revealed she had skin cancer.

Charles, who acceded to the throne just 17 months ago, was last seen on Sunday when he attended church in Sandringham.

Charles has been King since September 2022, when his mother Queen Elizabeth died after more than 70 years on the throne.