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King Charles III diagnosed with cancer, postponing public duties

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LONDON — King Charles III has been diagnosed with cancer and will not be making public appearances, Buckingham Palace said Monday.

The palace did not provide details about the type of cancer or where it was found, other than to say that during the British king’s recent procedure to treat a benign prostate enlargement, a “separate issue of concern was noted” and subsequently confirmed as cancerous.

“His Majesty has today commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties,” the palace said in a statement.

“He remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible,” the palace said.

The king is expected to continue to receive his “red boxes” containing documents from the government that the monarch must review. He is not expected to appoint a “counsellor of state,” or another senior member of the royal family whom he can delegate his duties to.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak posted on X, formerly Twitter: “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.”

The royal family is already shorthanded, with Catherine, Princess of Wales, recovering from abdominal surgery and Prince William, heir to the throne, taking a step back from royal duties to care for his wife and children. William is expected to make a public return later this week. A palace spokesperson said that Queen Camilla will continue with a “full program” of public duties.

Prince Harry spoke with the king about his cancer diagnosis and will be traveling to Britain to see his father in the coming days, according to a person in the office of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Well wishes poured forth. The leader of Scotland, First Minister Humza Yousaf, said he prayed for “a speedy recovery,” adding that his thoughts were also directed to the royal family “at what I know will be a worrying time.”

Charles and Camilla were photographed Sunday arriving together for church service at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham. Buckingham Palace said he returned to his London residence, Clarence House, Monday morning to “commence treatment as an outpatient.”

The palace is traditionally tight-lipped about the health of the monarch. But a spokesperson said the king wanted to make his diagnosis public “to prevent speculation and in the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer.”

The palace noted that as Prince of Wales, Charles was a patron of cancer-related charities and “has often spoken publicly in support of cancer patients, their loved ones and the wonderful health professionals who help care for them.”

The palace statements to the public and the media did not contain the specificity of the announcements just a few weeks ago that Charles would be hospitalized for a “corrective procedure” for an enlarged prostate, a condition common in men older than 60.

Camilla was asked last week how her husband was recuperating, and she replied, “He’s getting on, doing his best.”

In its statement Monday about the cancer treatment, the palace said that Charles is “grateful to his medical team for their swift intervention, which was made possible thanks to his recent hospital procedure.”

When the king’s mother, Queen Elizabeth II, died in September 2022 at 96, the official cause was “old age,” according to her death certificate. Before her death, the palace only noted that she was suffering from “mobility” issues to explain her use of a cane and her scaled-back schedule.

Charles’s father, Prince Philip, also died of “old age,” at 99. The palace did report on several of the prince’s earlier hospital visits — a bladder infection in 2012; exploratory abdominal surgery in 2013; and hip replacement surgery in 2018.

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