The announcement of King Charles III's cancer on Monday evening made for a particularly difficult start to the year for the British royal family, which has to rest at least until Easter after Princess Kate's operation.
• Also read: Royal family: King Charles III. suffers from cancer
• Also read: United Kingdom: Prince William resumes his official activities
• Also read: In the absence of Charles III. a more visible Queen Camilla
The 75-year-old king's cancer was announced late in the day in a statement from Buckingham Palace to “avoid speculation.” It said the king had begun treatment and had been ordered by his doctors to stop his public activities, without providing details about the “form of cancer” he was suffering from.
However, he will continue to “take care of state affairs and administrative tasks as usual,” according to the press release.
- Listen to the interview Damien-Claude Bélanger, Professor of History at the University of Ottawa with Mario Dumont on QUB:
Charles III, who succeeded his mother Elizabeth II 17 months ago and was crowned on May 6, also made it public on January 17 that he needed surgery for an enlarged prostate. He returned home on January 29 after a procedure at the London Clinic, an upscale facility in the center of the capital where he spent three nights. The palace said it would not immediately resume its engagements “to allow for a recovery period.” .
It was during this procedure that his cancer was discovered.
He had been hospitalized for abdominal surgery, details of which have not been made public, at the same facility as his daughter-in-law Kate, 42, who spent 13 days there in January.
She was also released on January 29th at her home in Windsor for a lengthy recovery period that was expected to last at least until Easter, March 31st.
Camilla on the front line
The hugely popular Princess of Wales has not been seen since Christmas.
Her husband Prince William, 41, heir to the crown, suspended his activities following his wife's hospitalization on January 16. The couple have three children, George (10), Charlotte (8) and Louis (5).
William had just announced on Monday that he was taking her back when the king's cancer diagnosis was made public.
And Sarah Ferguson, 64, the ex-wife of Prince Andrew, the king's brother, announced on January 21 that she was suffering from malignant melanoma, a skin cancer.
Six months earlier, in June 2023, she had already announced that she had been diagnosed with an early form of breast cancer. The malignant melanoma was discovered during tests ordered by a dermatologist while the Duchess of York was due to undergo reconstructive surgery following a mastectomy. A birthmark has been found to be cancerous.
Sarah still lives in Windsor in a royal residence which she shares with Prince Andrew, with whom she remains close despite divorcing in 1996.
These successive health scares have almost halved the royal family's roster of active members, and Queen Camilla, 76, is at the forefront of numerous engagements every week.
Princess Anne, 73, is also present, as are Prince Edward, 59, her youngest brother, and his wife Sophie. However, their activities generally receive significantly less press coverage.
The circle of active members of the British royal family has shrunk in recent years due to the departure of Prince Harry and his wife Meghan to the USA and the departure of Prince Andrew following a sex scandal.
Also taking part are the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, aged 79 and 77, Princess Alexandra, aged 87, and the Duke of Kent, aged 88.