King Charles Treated for Cancer in New Royal Health Scare

(Bloomberg) -- King Charles III is receiving treatment for an unspecified form of cancer, in the latest health scare for the British royal family less than a year-and-a-half after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

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The cancer was discovered during the 75-year-old monarch’s hospital stay late last month for treatment for an enlarged prostate, Buckingham Palace said in a statement late Monday. It didn’t disclose what type of cancer was found, except to rule out any connection to what it said was benign prostate condition.

“Thankfully this has been caught early,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told BBC radio on Tuesday. “All our thoughts are with him and his family.”

According to the palace, King Charles will continue “state business and official paperwork” but has been advised by doctors to suspend public duties and appearances. “He remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible,” it said.

Sunak led political leaders from across the UK in wishing the king a speedy recovery. US President Joe Biden also expressed his concern and said he would seek to speak with the king, who he met most recently in the UK in July.

The British royal family, whose longevity was symbolized by Queen Elizabeth’s 70-year reign, has been beset by health scares in recent weeks. Besides Charles’s cancer treatment, Princess Catherine, 42, the wife of heir-to-throne Prince William, had surgery last month for an undisclosed abdominal condition. William and Catherine have three children: George, Charlotte and Louis.

While the relative political stability enjoyed by Britain during recent centuries is often cited by defenders of the monarchy, the episode underscores how much of that rests on the good health of a small group of people. The Princess of Wales’s hospital stay prompted William, 41, to also suspend public appearances, suddenly leaving three of the most famous royals out of the public eye.

Charles remains the head of state of 14 other Commonwealth realms, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand. He and Queen Camilla planned a visit to Australia and New Zealand, which would also include the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Samoa in October, according to British newspapers.

William’s younger brother, Prince Harry, has spoken to the king about the diagnosis and will travel to the UK from California to see his father in the coming days, the Press Association news agency reported, citing a person familiar with the matter. The trip will be closely watched for signals whether concerns about the king’s health would help ease a public feud between William and Harry, who stepped back from official royal duties and moved to the US.

Charles ascended to throne after his mother’s death in September 2022, after waiting a record-breaking seven decades to become king. He was formally crowned in May during a service in Westminster Abbey.

The monarch last appeared in public outside a church service in Sandringham in Norfolk on Sunday, where he has one of his residences. Although he will pause his public engagements, the king will continue in his constitutional role as head of state and commander in chief of the armed forces.

House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle and opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer were among those who wished the king well with his recovery.

Buckingham Palace said the king had chosen to share his diagnosis to prevent speculation and to improve public understanding for people around the world affected by cancer. His office had similarly said Charles informed the public about his prostate diagnosis to encourage men to get checks.

--With assistance from Alex Wickham.

(Updates with Sunak saying cancer found ‘early’ in third paragraph.)

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