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King Charles’ cancer diagnosis: What’s next in the kingdom?

King Charles’ cancer diagnosis: What’s next in the kingdom?
The British King Charles III.
Image: CHRIS JACKSON (POOL)

The short message from the palace on Monday evening raises questions – but there is not an answer to all of them:

  • Also read: Shock for the royals: King Charles has cancer

What type of cancer is it?
The palace did not disclose this. All that is known is that it is not prostate cancer. This is important to emphasize because the 75-year-old recently underwent surgery for a benign enlargement of the prostate – such an operation is particularly common in older men. But a separate problem was discovered, the palace said. Further diagnostic tests identified “a form of cancer.” No details about the disease, prognosis or therapy were given. The monarch began regular, outpatient treatment on Monday. Every year, around 393,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with cancer, according to Macmillan Cancer Support.

Can Charles continue to carry out his duties?
On medical advice, the king is refraining from public appointments for the time being, the palace said. But he will continue to conduct state affairs and, as usual, process official documents that come to him in his famous red box. However, commentators did not rule out the possibility that the form of the tasks would change. The monarch meets weekly – usually on Wednesdays – with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. These discussions could also take place virtually, the BBC reported. Charles also wanted to attend the monthly meetings of the Privy Council.

What is the role of the king in Great Britain?
His tasks are generally representative; politically he must maintain strict neutrality. However, there are things that require the king’s formal approval, such as the minting of coins and the dates of certain holidays. His signature is needed to put laws into effect. In 2024, the monarch’s right to dissolve parliament before an election will be important. After the vote, for which there is no exact date, the king will receive the leader of the party that won the most seats in the lower house and ask him to form a government. Charles is not only head of state of the United Kingdom, but also of 14 other countries: former British colonies from Australia to Canada to island states in the Caribbean.

What happens if Charles can’t fulfill his duties?
If the king is ill or is abroad, he can delegate some tasks to “counselors of state”. Traditionally, these are the monarch’s wife, Queen Camilla, as well as the first four people in line to the throne who are over 21 years old. These are Charles’ sons Prince William and Prince Harry, his brother Prince Andrew and his eldest daughter Princess Beatrice. It is required that at least two people work together. Since Harry and Andrew do not take on appointments for the royals for various reasons, his sister Princess Anne and his youngest brother Prince Edward were also appointed Councilors of State at Charles’ request at the end of 2022.

Is it possible for the king to abdicate?
This is pure speculation. In his first address to the nation after taking office, Charles renewed the late Queen Elizabeth II’s commitment to lifelong service. His mother once promised to dedicate “her entire life, be it short or long,” to serving her subjects. She had kept that promise and he now wanted to renew it, Charles had said. Until Elizabeth’s death on September 8, 2022, he had been heir to the throne for 70 years.

What are Charles’ closest family members doing now?
What caused the most stir was the announcement that his younger son Prince Harry wanted to travel from the USA, where he has lived with his family for years. The relationship between the 39-year-old and his father and brother Prince William (41) is considered to be broken. Charles’ wife Queen Camilla will continue to attend appointments, the palace emphasized. It now shows that the 76-year-old is the great force behind the throne, said Joe Little from Majesty magazine. “She is a great support for her husband in many ways.” Heir to the throne William is due to return to the public this Wednesday. He had actually wanted to slow down while his wife Princess Kate recovered from an abdominal operation. According to the palace, the 42-year-old will be out until at least after Easter; an exact diagnosis is not known. “It’s business as usual in the House of Windsor when it comes to personal health matters,” Little said.

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