King Charles returns to royal engagements following cancer diagnosis

“I’ve had so many wonderful messages and cards. It’s reduced me to tears most of the time...”

King Charles III has returned to work for the first time since he was diagnosed with cancer.

His Majesty returned to Buckingham Palace on February 21 and held an in-person Privy Council with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The palace released a short video of the meeting and it seems Charles is in good spirits despite his diagnosis.

“Wonderful to see you looking so well,” said Mr Sunak.

“It’s all done by mirrors,” the King joked in response.

Mr Sunak then continued: “We’re all behind you. The country is behind you.”

“I’ve had so many wonderful messages and cards. It’s reduced me to tears most of the time,” Charles replied.

Charles shared his first public statement since the cancer diagnosis just over a week before holding his in-person Privy Council.

“I would like to express my most heartfelt thanks for the many messages of support and good wishes I have received in recent days,” the monarch said on February 11 in a statement via Buckingham Palace.

“As all those who have been affected by cancer will know, such kind thoughts are the greatest comfort and encouragement.”

“It is equally heartening to hear how sharing my own diagnosis has helped promote public understanding and shine a light on the work of all those organisations which support cancer patients and their families across the UK and wider world.

“My lifelong admiration for their tireless care and dedication is all the greater as a result of my own personal experience.”

King Charles’ address came just days after his wife, Queen Camilla gave an update on her husband’s health.

During a royal engagement at Salisbury Cathedral on February 8, a guest said to Camilla, “I do hope His Majesty is doing well ma’am, we’re all really sad to hear the news,” to which she replied:

“Well he’s doing extremely well under the circumstances, he’s very touched by all the letters and the messages the public have been sending from everywhere – that’s very cheering.”

King Charles first revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer on February 6, sharing the cancer was discovered during his recent surgery for a benign prostate enlargement. The type of cancer has not been disclosed.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 06: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) King Charles III watches an RAF flypast from the balcony of Buckingham Palace following his and Queen Camilla's Coronation at Westminster Abbey on May 6, 2023 in London, England. The Coronation of Charles III and his wife, Camilla, as King and Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the other Commonwealth realms takes place at Westminster Abbey today. Charles acceded to the throne on 8 September 2022, upon the death of his mother, Elizabeth II. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Buckingham Palace issued a statement, also on February 6, confirming that he has begun a regular course of treatment.

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

“Throughout this period, His Majesty will continue to undertake State business and official paperwork as usual.

“The King is grateful to his medical team for their swift intervention, which was made possible thanks to his recent hospital procedure.”

The Weekly‘s Royal Correspondent, Juliet Rieden, weighed in when the diagnosis was first announced and said the royal family would “pull together” while Charles recovers.

WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 09: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Camilla, Queen Consort and King Charles III attend the traditional Easter Sunday Mattins Service at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on April 9, 2023 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

“Buckingham Palace has been unusually open with The King’s health news which seems to mark a new era in royal communications under King Charles III. Obviously as our constitutional monarch, this is important news for Australia as well Britain and we wish His Majesty all the best for his ongoing treatment.

“It is a time for the royal family to pull together and that is what we will see over the coming days.”

Both Camilla and Prince William have already done just that; William has returned to royal engagements since his father was diagnosed with cancer even though he had previously announced he would be taking time off to care for his wife Princess Catherine, who just underwent abdominal surgery.

The King’s willingness to share his diagnosis with the public is unsurprising as it comes not long after his recent transparency over his scheduled surgery for an enlarged prostate.

In the full statement issued by the palace, they confirmed the reasoning behind this decision was to “prevent speculation” and to raise awareness and “public understanding” for those impacted by cancer.

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