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Prince William speaks out after King Charles’ cancer diagnosis and wife Kate’s surgery

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London — Prince William returned to public royal duties Wednesday after taking about three weeks off while his wife Kate, the Princess of Wales, recovered from abdominal surgery. During that period, his father, King Charles III, was diagnosed with cancer and Buckingham Palace said the monarch would step back from his own public duties during treatment.

William attended an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle early Wednesday before attending a gala dinner for London’s Air Ambulance Charity, at which he shared the limelight with actor Tom Cruise.

The Prince Of Wales Attends London's Air Ambulance Charity Gala Dinner
Britain’s Prince William, Prince of Wales, reacts as he talks with actor Tom Cruise at the London Air Ambulance Charity Gala Dinner, Feb. 7, 2024 in London, England.

Daniel Leal – WPA Pool/Getty


“I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you for the kind messages of support for Catherine and for my father, especially in recent days,” William said at the charity gala. 

“It’s fair to say the past few weeks have had a rather medical focus, so I thought I’d come to an air ambulance function to get away from it all,” joked the prince.

William stepped away from public duties last month to help care for Kate and their three children after her unspecified abdominal surgery. Kate isn’t expected to resume her public duties until around April.

The Prince Of Wales Attends London's Air Ambulance Charity Gala Dinner
Britain’s Prince William, Prince of Wales delivers a speech during the London Air Ambulance Charity Gala Dinner, Feb. 7, 2024 in London, England.

DANIEL LEAL/POOL/AFP/Getty


Charles’ cancer diagnosis was announced last week by Buckingham Palace, which said it was discovered during separate treatment for an enlarged prostate. Royal sources said the king does not have prostate cancer, but the palace has not given any further information about what form of cancer he does have, or what type of treatments he is undergoing.

“His absence is putting a lot of pressure on the other members of the royal family, who are certainly up to it,” Sally Bedell Smith, author of Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life, told The Associated Press. “Having one of the great stars of the royal family, the Princess of Wales, in recuperation from a surgery” adds to that pressure, Smith said.

The working members of the royal family attend hundreds of events every year to mark national, regional and local occasions and to recognize members of the public. 

The palace said Charles would continue with his non-public facing work, such as signing and reviewing papers, as he undergoes treatment. His in-person meetings with the British prime minister are expected to resume later in February, according to the AP.

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