Sunak relieved over early detection of King Charles’ cancer
The monarch has commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties
King Charles leaves the London Clinic after receiving treatment for an enlarged prostate in London, Britain January 29, 2024. REUTERS/Hollie Adams/File Photo
Prime minister Rishi Sunak said on Tuesday (6) that he was “shocked and sad” upon discovering that King Charles was diagnosed with cancer, though he found solace in the fact that the condition was detected early.
Buckingham Palace revealed on Monday evening that the King had commenced outpatient treatment for a type of cancer that has not been disclosed. According to the palace, this diagnosis was made in the course of treating an enlarged prostate, but the cancer is unrelated to that condition.
“Thankfully, this has been caught early,” Sunak told the BBC, saying he would “continue to communicate with him as normal” – indicating his customary weekly audiences with the King will continue during the treatment.
“He’ll just be in our thoughts and our prayers. Many families around the country listening to this will have been touched by the same thing and they know what it means to everyone…hopefully we get through this as quickly as possible,” Sunak said.
Less than 18 months into his reign, the 75-year-old monarch has been forced to withdraw from public engagements but will continue with State business.
Charles became King in September 2022 when his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, died at the age of 96 after 70 years as the longest-reigning British monarch.
Buckingham Palace said in an official statement that it was during the King’s recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted and subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer.
The monarch has commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties.
However, he will continue to undertake State business and official paperwork as usual.
“His Majesty is grateful to his medical team for their expert care and swift intervention, is wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible,” Buckingham Palace said.
“Regrettably, a number of the King’s forthcoming public engagements will have to be rearranged or postponed. His Majesty would like to apologise to all those who may be disappointed or inconvenienced as a consequence,” it said.
The King will continue to receive Red Boxes, which contain official papers for his review and sign off, and process State documents as there are no plans to appoint Counsellors of State – which include his wife Queen Camilla and son and heir Prince William.
They are expected to divide the King’s public-facing duties between them during his treatment phase.
Over the weekend, King Charles was photographed waving after he and Queen Camilla attended a church service in Sandringham, Norfolk, marking his first public appearance since being discharged from a London clinic last Monday.
He has since travelled from Sandringham to London to begin treatment as an outpatient and is now at the palace in London.
The palace has said it will not be releasing anything further on the sovereign’s health at this stage. It has also issued guidance for the media to refrain from breaching King Charles’ right to privacy related to his health.
The King’s younger son, Prince Harry, who quit royal duties in 2020 and moved to California, has spoken to his father about the diagnosis and “will be travelling to the UK to see His Majesty in the coming days,” said the office of Harry and his wife, Meghan.
The British press has reported that he is currently travelling from Los Angeles.