Britain expresses shock and worry over King Charles cancer diagnosis

LONDON — Just over a year after it buried one monarch, the United Kingdom is grappling with the news that her son and successor, King Charles III, has been diagnosed with cancer, prompting an outpouring of well wishes and worry.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that Charles’s cancer was in the early stages and that he was “shocked and sad” when he was told about the diagnosis.

“Thankfully, this has been caught early,” Sunak told the BBC on Tuesday, adding that he was hoping the king “gets the treatment that he needs and makes a full recovery.”

King Charles III diagnosed with cancer, postpones public duties

Sunak said he was in “regular contact” with the king. When asked whether his weekly in-person meetings will continue — the king usually meets with the prime minister on Wednesdays — Sunak said, “We don’t need to get into the details, but I am in regular contact with him, as I always am.”

His comments come a day after Buckingham Palace announced that Charles, 75, had been diagnosed with cancer, although it did not say what type.

While Charles as been more forthcoming about his health issues than his mother, Queen Elizabeth II — whose death certificate said simply that she had died of “old age” — there is still much that has been left unsaid. It raises speculation about how serious his condition is and whether other royals might step in to pick up duties that he is no longer able to perform.

Charles told both of his sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, about his diagnosis before the palace went public on Monday evening.

British media reports said that Harry is expected to arrive back in Britain later on Tuesday. It’s unclear where he will stay. He handed back the keys to Frogmore Cottage in January 2023, shortly after his memoir, “Spare,” was published.

What we know so far about King Charles’s cancer diagnosis

Royal watchers were speculating that William, heir to the throne, may have to step up his royal duties if Charles is unable to resume them fully for some time. Charles is expected to continue to receive his “red boxes,” containing documents from the government that the monarch must review, and to meet with the prime minister for his weekly audience.

Well wishes have poured in from around the world. President Biden tweeted that “navigating a cancer diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship takes hope and absolute courage.”

“Jill and I join the people of the United Kingdom in praying that His Majesty experiences a swift and full recovery.”

Donald Trump, the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, commented on his Truth Social platform that Charles was “a wonderful man, who I got to know well during my presidency, and we all pray that he has a fast and full recovery!”

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