King Charles III suffers from 'form of cancer', Buckingham Palace announces

King Charles III, aged 75, is suffering from a “form of cancer”, Buckingham Palace announced in a press release on Monday (February 5)

King Charles III suffers from 'form of cancer', Buckingham Palace announces

King Charles III, aged 75, is suffering from a “form of cancer”, Buckingham Palace announced in a press release on Monday (February 5). The palace clarified that he did not suffer from prostate cancer. The sovereign was hospitalized for three days in a private London clinic for prostate surgery, then was released on January 29.

“During the king's recent hospital procedure for benign prostatic enlargement, a separate problem was noted” and “subsequent tests identified a form of cancer,” the palace said in its statement. According to Buckingham Palace, the king “remains fully positive about his treatment and hopes to fully return to public duties as soon as possible.”

The king has “chosen to share his diagnosis to avoid speculation and in the hope that it can help the public understand all those around the world who are affected by cancer”, also specifies Buckingham Palace. In the wake of the press release announcing the cancer of Charles III, the British Prime Minister wished, on his account X, a “speedy and complete recovery” to the sovereign.

This absence of the king for health reasons poses a concrete problem for the royal family and by extension for the British parliamentary monarchy: there are not many members of the royal family left available to appear in public. Visiting schools, charities, presiding over receptions, honoring deserving people: these representational missions constitute the core of the role of British monarchs. With the departure of Prince Harry for California with his wife Meghan Markle – he must go to the United Kingdom in the coming days after the announcement of his father's cancer – and the sidelining of Prince Andrew , youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II, for his closeness to sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein, there aren't many "royals" left available.

His eldest son, the Prince of Wales, William, 41, is expected to replace the king for many of his engagements. Queen Camilla is in good health, but she is 76 years old and cannot thrive in a country of more than 65 million people. And Catherine, Princess of Wales, William's wife, has just undergone serious abdominal surgery at the end of January. Buckingham Palace has no plans for her to appear in public in the coming weeks – not until Easter. Princess Anne, sister of the king, is considered the most active of the "royals", but she is 73 years old.

Abdication, a taboo subject

His brother's illness could relaunch the debate – hitherto taboo – on a possible abdication. Elizabeth II fulfilled her role as sovereign to the end, she still received the brand new Prime Minister Liz Truss in September 2022, barely forty-eight hours before her death, for the latter's first royal audience. Charles III prepared fifty years before ascending the throne; So far he has given no sign of wanting to retire early, especially since his advent has gone rather better than many experts had anticipated.

Finally, the revelation of the king's cancer, a completely unprecedented demonstration of transparency on the part of Buckingham Palace, also risks renewing the debate on the treatment of cancers in the United Kingdom. The country is one of the worst ranked among Western countries for cancer survival rates, due to diagnoses often being far too late. The British are finding it increasingly difficult to make appointments with their general practitioners, who are not numerous enough (around 2.8 per 1,000 inhabitants). King Charles III will have access to the best treatments and these began on Monday February 5, according to Buckingham Palace, while more than 7 million Britons are on a waiting list for operations or treatments in the NHS, the system public health, and many wait months before having access to chemotherapy.