Having waited for over seven decades to attain sovereignty, King Charles of Britain has been diagnosed with a type of cancer within just 18 months of ascending to the throne. Buckingham Palace declared on Monday that the 75-year-old king would be deferring public engagements while undergoing treatment. Despite this, he expressed his anticipation of resuming full public duties at the earliest opportunity. The announcement followed a flurry of messages wishing the monarch well and came just a week after he left the hospital following a procedure to treat an enlarged prostate.
Royal family members usually keep their medical conditions private, but palace officials have been firm in the past that they will not issue daily bulletins about Charles’s health. In an interview with the BBC on Tuesday, the editor-in-chief of Majesty Magazine, Ingrid Seward, said Charles had decided to be open about his diagnosis to “prevent speculation.” She noted that he was not announcing a specific type of cancer or what type of treatment he was receiving, but he did say that he was “absolutely committed” to getting back to work as soon as he could.
How the cancer was discovered remains unknown. Charles spent three nights in the hospital for a prostatic operation in January, but the palace only revealed that he had an enlarged prostate on January 17. It hasn’t been clear whether the cancer diagnosis was made during that procedure or at some other point. CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner says that when patients are admitted to the hospital for any reason, they are often given tests that can reveal other health issues.
The news of the king’s illness has come just days after the United States special envoy for Middle East peace, Antony Blinken, arrived in Saudi Arabia for a meeting to rally support for a proposed cease-fire between Israel and Iran-backed militias. The move comes with high tensions over the conflict after President Donald Trump called for an immediate cease-fire.
The king’s decision to postpone public duties while he is treated has drawn praise worldwide. Lisa Kerr, the principal of Gordonstoun school in north-east Scotland, where the king went to school, told Good Morning Scotland that she was “hugely encouraged by the wholly positive attitude he has toward his diagnosis and his continued dedication to his role as sovereign.” She added: “He’s been a phenomenal example for young people throughout his time here. He’s a true gentleman, and we hope he has the best health moving forward.” The palace also praised the school staff for their “outstanding support” during this difficult time.