The seventy-five-year-old monarch has been the subject of worry and wild speculation since Buckingham Palace announced last Monday that King Charles III had been diagnosed with cancer. Dignitaries from both sides sent their best wishes. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told the House of Commons on Wednesday, “We wish His Majesty the King a speedy recovery and look forward to him resuming his public-facing duties in due course.” Labor leader Keir Starmer (Keir Starmer) “Best wishes for his recovery.” “We are all looking forward to seeing him return to full fitness as soon as possible,” he said. The statement released by Buckingham Palace did not reveal the type, stage or treatment of the cancer. It did not say how long the most high-profile member of the royal family might be out of retirement. “During the King’s recent hospital surgery for benign prostatic hyperplasia, a separate problem was noted. Subsequent diagnostic tests revealed a cancer,” it reads. The statement also said Charles would step back from his public-facing duties – shaking hands, cutting ribbons – but continue “conducting state affairs and official paperwork as usual.” It ends on a relatively optimistic note. Charles remains “completely optimistic about his treatment” and looks forward to “resuming public duties as soon as possible.” The statement read that he chose to share his news to “prevent speculation and hope it can help educate the public about all those affected by cancer around the world.”
The news comes amid a season of poor health for the royal family. Charles’ daughter-in-law, Catherine, Princess of Wales, recently spent thirteen days in hospital recovering from abdominal surgery. She is unlikely to return to public office after Easter. Last month, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, wrote on Instagram that she had malignant melanoma. Charles’ journey was rapid. On January 17, the palace announced that he would undergo treatment for an enlarged prostate. On January 26, he was admitted to the London Clinic, a luxury private hospital in Marylebone, for three nights. A week later, the cancer discovery was made public and he began “regular treatment.” He will recover at Sandringham, his 20,000-acre country estate on the Norfolk coast.
The goal of preventing speculation about Charles’ health didn’t quite go to plan. Some diagnoses are obvious at a glance, but this one only raises questions. The BBC report reads like the browsing history of someone suffering from a mild panic attack. “What do we know about the King’s cancer diagnosis?” “How common is Kim’s accidental cancer diagnosis?” “What is cancer?” Some are personal issues, but the British public takes the royal family personally. When Charles’ mother, Queen Elizabeth II, died in the fall of 2022, tens of thousands of fans turned out to watch the funeral procession in Hyde Park. One young woman sitting on the grass told me about a change I’d heard from many others: “She reminds me of my own grandma.”
Some Britons are likely to think of their real relatives and the disparity between the King’s speedy care and the long waiting times under the overwhelmed NHS.According to reports, the latest data guardian, revealed that nearly seventy per cent of cancer patients in the UK started treatment within two months of an “urgent suspected cancer referral or consultant escalation”. (The goal is eighty-five percent.) Delays can be fatal. A Cancer Research UK report found that up to 20,000 cancer-related deaths could be avoided in the country by 2040 if the government made appropriate commitments. Cancer Research UK chief executive Michelle Mitchell said the government “must take urgent action to provide additional investment in the NHS while reforming cancer services so that people with cancer receive the level of care they deserve.”
Charles often talks about a streamlined monarchy. Now, the number of working royals available for public events has been further reduced. The Queen, who fought some twenty-one thousand battles, once said, “I had to see it to believe it.” Perhaps she learned this lesson from Queen Victoria, who withdrew from public view after the death of Prince Albert , thus falling out of favor. (She had time to recover during the subsequent four decades of her reign.) Last year, Charles attended an impressive four hundred and twenty-five royal events, second only to his sister, Princess Anne, who attended four hundred Fifty-seven games. . (Anne held the record for most engagements for three years running.)
The King’s presence will be missed. The number of young royals is small as Catherine is still recovering from her illness. Some hope the news from Charles will lead to a reconciliation between his son, William, Prince of Wales, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex.The relationship between the brothers [has been strained] Since the publication of Harry’s memoir, Backup, and his earlier move to Santa Barbara with his wife, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex. But a big movie reunion seems unlikely. Harry flew back to California on Wednesday after spending just twenty-six hours in London, during which he met his father for less than an hour. He didn’t see William.
The obvious solution is for William to take his father’s place in the coming months. He has already begun the process. He returned to public service last week after a brief absence to help care for Catherine. He awarded retired football star Alan White an OBE and hobnobbed with Tom Cruise at an air ambulance charity gala in London. There’s something reassuring, almost touching, about seeing him in a tuxedo earnestly trying to charm a room full of strangers. He thanked them for their “kind support of Catherine and my father.” “It’s fair to say the focus over the past few weeks has been on medical care. So I thought I’d come to the air ambulance event to get away from it all,” he joked.
On a windy day last week, I took the Tube to Buckingham Palace. Outside the gate, tourists, some holding bags of M&M’s from the store, took selfies and studied maps. A group of French schoolchildren stopped to eat sandwiches. Kim Christie-Sturges, sixty, and her daughter Kelly Alexander, thirty-three, traveled from East Sussex to attend a show today. They liked to pass by the palace every time they entered the city. “We always take a quick look as we go, don’t we?” King said. “This is stability.” How do they feel about Charles’ diagnosis? “We’re really just saying that if it doesn’t get resolved, we could end up with another king,” Kelly said. “And to catch up with his mom so soon. Really, it’s a shame that he hasn’t had a chance to get his foot in the door yet.” She quickly added, “From the looks of it, they got it early, So I hope it should be fine.”
“I look at it in a different way,” King said. “You look at all the people who haven’t been as lucky as him to have access to private healthcare. Maybe there are other people sitting there with the same condition but completely undiagnosed.” Her husband recovered from bowel cancer a few years ago. survived. She stopped. “But it wouldn’t be good for anyone to go that route, wouldn’t it?” she asked. “This must be difficult for his family. It just puts the country on edge.” ❖