King Charles has issued his first personal statement since his cancer diagnosis – and apologised for not being able to celebrate a Caribbean island’s milestone anniversary in person.
It was revealed on Monday (05.02.24) the 75-year-old monarch is suffering an undisclosed form of the illness – after he went in for an operation to correct an enlarged prostate – and he has now spoken out to mark Grenada’s 50th anniversary of Independence.
In a statement issued on Wednesday (07.02.24) night Charles said he wanted to send his “congratulations and warmest good wishes” to the country amid his health woes.
His full message which also mentioned his wife Queen Camilla, 76, said: “Over these past five decades, I have watched with the deepest admiration as you have built your nation and forged Grenada’s distinct place in the world, and as an essential member of our Commonwealth family.
“Together, you have established Grenada as an exemplar of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
“Together, you have risen to the most critical challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss by offering the world an example of leadership, resilience and innovation.
“Together, you have given life to the words of your national anthem: ‘Aspire, build, advance!’
“My wife and I hold such special memories of our visit to your beautiful ‘Spice Island’ five years ago, and of the warm and touching welcome you extended to us.
“Then, as whenever I have met Grenadians anywhere in the world, I was struck by your resilience, the strength of your community and by your shared determination to make a positive difference.
“In this Grenadian spirit you can take the greatest pride. Whether through the remarkable contributions of Grenada's artists, musicians and authors, or the triumphs of your athletes, all of whom have enjoyed such extraordinary success, ‘473 to the World’ is an inspiration to us all.
“I can only say how sorry I am that I cannot be with you in person to mark this momentous milestone, and to enjoy a little Oil Down with you all!
“My thoughts are with everyone across Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique, and all those in the Grenadian diaspora – ‘one people, one family’ – as you celebrate everything you have achieved and all that your future holds. “My family join me in sending our heartfelt congratulations to you all.”
Charles carried out 516 engagements last year, including 94 trips abroad.
Meanwhile, Prince William, 41, cracked a joke about “getting away from it all” as he spoke officially for the first time since his dad was diagnosed with cancer.
After thanking royal well-wishers for their “kindness” on the way into a charity fundraiser for the London Air Ambulance on Wednesday (07.02.24) night at London’s Raffles Hotel – which was also attended by 61-year-old Tom Cruise – the Prince of Wales gave a speech.
The dad-of-three royal – whose wife Catherine, Princess of Wales, 42, is recovering from abdominal surgery she had at the same clinic that treated Charles for his enlarged prostate – said: “Thank you for being here. And thank you to all those whose hard work has made this evening possible.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you, also, for the kind messages of support for Catherine and for my father, especially in recent days. It means a great deal to us all.
“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.”