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King Charles III is diagnosed with cancer

The 75-year-old British monarch will suspend his public agenda, but will continue to ‘undertake state business and official paperwork as usual,’ Buckingham Palace said

Britain’s King Charles III
Britain’s King Charles III is seen leaving The London Clinic on January 29, 2024, in London, England. TPeter Nicholls (Getty Images)
Rafa de Miguel

King Charles III has been diagnosed with “a form of cancer,” Buckingham Palace announced Monday in a statement in which it did not provide further details of the diagnosis. The tumor was discovered during the treatment of a benign prostate enlargement, although, according to the statement, it is not prostate cancer. Doctors have recommended the 75-year-old king postpone his public schedule, but he will continue to carry out his state duties. The official statement notes that the monarch has decided to share his diagnosis “to prevent speculation and in the hope that it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer.”

The king began this Monday “a schedule of regular treatments,” according to Buckingham. “Throughout this period, His Majesty will continue to undertake state business and official paperwork as usual,” the press release added. The usual treatments in these cases are chemotherapy, radiotherapy or immunotherapy.

According to Cancer Research U.K., the most prestigious British organization in the battle against this disease, at the monarch’s age the most common cancers among men are bladder, bowel, lung, melanoma, or prostate.

The monarch personally communicated the news to his two sons, William (the heir and Prince of Wales) and Harry. The latter has announced that he will travel in the coming days to the United Kingdom to visit his father. There is a constitutional mechanism foreseen to replace the king in case of serious illness. These are the so-called “Counsellors of State,” who can replace him in his public duties, in the following order: Queen Camilla, Prince William, Princess Anne (sister of the monarch) and Prince Edward (brother). However, for the moment, it is not necessary, according to Buckingham Palace, to activate this provision.

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wished the monarch “a full and speedy recovery” after learning of his diagnosis. “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 wrote on his official X account. Labour opposition leader Keir Starmer and the Speaker of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle, also sent the king their well-wishes.

Charles III announced last January 17 that he had been diagnosed with benign prostate enlargement, like many men of his age. On the 26th of the same month, he was admitted to the London Clinic, where he stayed for three nights, to undergo treatment. Upon being discharged, he left the hospital on his own two feet.

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