King Charles III diagnosed with cancer

King Charles III (Aaron Chown / Pool via Getty Images) © Provided by NBC News

King Charles III, 75, has been diagnosed with cancer and will be avoiding public events after being advised by his doctors to minimize in-person contacts, Buckingham Palace announced Monday.

The announcement marks a striking departure from the past, when monarch’s ailments were often hidden from the public, according to royal experts.

During The King’s recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted,” the palace said in an emailed statement. “Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer.”

The statement also did not specify what stage the cancer was found.

Separately, Buckingham Palace said Charles did not have prostate cancer.

Britain’s King Charles III waves (Kin Cheung / AP)© Kin Cheung

The news comes a week after both Kate and King Charles were discharged from a private London clinic after medical procedures. The king underwent a “corrective procedure” for an enlarged prostate, while Kate, 42, had unspecified abdominal surgery on Jan. 17.

“His Majesty has today commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties,” the statement added.

According to the statement, the king wanted to share his diagnosis in part to avoid speculation on his condition but also “in the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer.”

Before becoming king, Charles served as patron to a number of cancer-related charities, and “in this capacity, His Majesty has often spoken publicly in support of cancer patients, their loved ones and the wonderful health professionals who help care for them,” according to Buckingham Palace.

No further details are being shared about his treatment or prognosis, a palace spokesperson said, but the king returned to London on Monday to begin out-patient care.

Sarah Gristwood, royal biographer and historian, said it was “striking” that the diagnosis was announced at all given the royal family’s history of trying to “keep any sign of ordinary human fallibility behind closed doors.”

King Charles III (Aaron Chown / Pool via Getty Images)© Provided by NBC News

“When Charles’ grandfather, George VI, was very gravely ill, the severity of his condition was kept not only from the public but from the patient himself,” Gristwood said of King George, who died in 1952. “Those were the attitudes of the time. Happily, things have now changed.”

Charles ascended the throne last May in a coronation ceremony held months after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. Elizabeth reigned until her death at the age of 96 in September 2022. She was Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, with 70 years on the throne.

Kate is still in recovery, but her husband, William, Prince of Wales, is set to return to his royal duties by attending the London’s Air Ambulance Charity Gala Dinner on Wednesday.

Kensington Palace previously said the Princess of Wales is unlikely to return to her royal duties before Easter, March 31. There was no date specified for the king’s return to duties.

Buckingham Palace noted that many of the king’s planned engagements will have to be postponed or canceled, apologizing in advance to anyone inconvenienced as a result. Charles’ wife, Queen Camilla, will continue with her full public duties as he undergoes treatment.

Buckingham Palace has also emphasized there will be no counsellors of state appointed, a sign that the king will continue to perform his duties, said Craig Prescott, who teaches law at Royal Holloway, University of London, and specializes in the constitutional side of the monarchy.

“If the king is unavailable due to illness or is traveling overseas, then counsellors of state can be appointed to fill in for the king, and undertake the formal, constitutional functions of the monarch: things like granting the royal assent to legislation, and go through his red boxes,” Prescott said.

A source close to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, told NBC News that Harry spoke to his father about the diagnosis.

“He will be traveling to the U.K. to see His Majesty in the coming days,” the source said.

Harry stepped down from his role as a senior member of the royal family in 2020 and has since taken up residence in California with his wife and two children. He has visited Britain sparingly in recent years, expressing concerns over the lack of security for his family and amid reports of a widening rift with his father and brother William.

He was in attendance for both his grandmother’s funeral and his father’s coronation.

This article was originally published on