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Buckingham Palace announces that King Charles has been diagnosed with cancer


The reigning British monarch, King Charles III disclosed his recent cancer diagnosis to his siblings and children before sharing the news with the broader British public. But, as Willem Marx reports, the relatively unusual decision to disclose the monarch's health details, and so quickly, represents a decision to raise awareness about illness and disease.

WILLEM MARX, BYLINE: It was only last month that Charles announced he would undergo a straightforward operation on an enlarged prostate, a common enough procedure in a man of his age. At the time, he said he wanted his own public experience with his prostate to encourage others to ensure they, too, made time for medical checkups. But it was last week, during his brief period as an inpatient, when doctors made the discovery that's led to this new cancer diagnosis, prompting a series of regular treatments as an outpatient that began on Monday. Buckingham Palace has not revealed details about the king's precise prognosis, only saying in a statement that the cancer uncovered was unrelated to his benign prostate enlargement and that Charles remained, quote, "wholly positive" about his treatment. Well-wishes flooded in from around the world, including those from the British Parliament and its speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle.


LINDSAY HOYLE: Our thoughts are, of course, with His Majesty and his family, and we'd all wish to send him our very best wishes for the successful treatment and a speedy recovery following tonight's news.

MARX: The monarch will maintain some of his constitutional duties as head of state, including weekly meetings with the Prime Minister and as much daily document signing as his doctors will allow. But in only his second year in the role, the 75-year-old will step back from more public duties and appearances - activities, the statement said, he looked forward to resuming as soon as possible. Last week, his wife, Queen Camilla, like Charles, a longtime cancer charity patron, helped mark the opening of a new cancer center at a London hospital. And the royal family has said Charles was sharing this fresh diagnosis to, quote, "assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer."

President Biden said he was concerned about the diagnosis and together with his wife Jill, would be praying for a, quote, "swift and full recovery." He added that navigating a cancer diagnosis, its treatment and subsequent survival requires, quote, "hope and absolute courage." Rishi Sunak, who's held regular one-to-one conversations with Charles, said the entire U.K. would be wishing him well, and he expected the King would be, quote, "back to full strength in no time." For NPR News, I'm Willem Marx in London. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Willem Marx
[Copyright 2024 NPR]