King Charles thanks public in first message since cancer diagnosis

In his first public comments since his cancer diagnosis, King Charles III expressed gratitude to the public for their support, saying it brought him “the greatest comfort and encouragement,” according to a statement.

“I would like to express my most heartfelt thanks for the many messages of support and good wishes I have received in recent days. As all those who have been affected by cancer will know, such kind thoughts are the greatest comfort and encouragement,” the statement read.

The King added his diagnosis has strengthened his admiration for organizations helping cancer patients. “My lifelong admiration for their tireless care and dedication is all the greater as a result of my own personal experience,” the statement added.

On Monday, Buckingham Palace announced Charles, 75, had been diagnosed with an undisclosed form of cancer and will step back from public-facing duties while he undergoes treatment.

It was identified after he was admitted to a London hospital for a corrective procedure for an enlarged prostate last month, said the palace. Prostate cancer has been ruled out to CNN by a royal source, who did not provide any further detail.

He was advised by doctors to step away from public-facing duties, but the palace stressed he would continue state duties and paperwork.

On Tuesday afternoon the King was seen leaving the capital by helicopter from Buckingham Palace. A short time before, Prince Harry was seen arriving at Charles’ London home.

Charles is expected to carry on getting his daily red boxes with government papers so he can continue working through state documents at home. CNN understands it is anticipated the King will continue his weekly audience with the prime minister and alternative arrangements will be made if his doctors advise him to minimize in-person contact.

Though all the signals coming from the palace have been positive so far, the news is disconcerting. It has been only about 17 months since Charles acceded to the throne following the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II.

Prince William, Charles’ son and the heir to the throne, and Queen Camilla are expected to take on more public engagements to account for Charles’ absence.

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