King praised for publicising prostate treatment as Queen visits elderly charity

Camilla marked the anniversary of the St John’s Foundation in Bath.

Tony Jones
Thursday 01 February 2024 14:03 GMT
Queen Camilla celebrated the anniversary of the St John’s Foundation (Ben Birchall/PA)
Queen Camilla celebrated the anniversary of the St John’s Foundation (Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Wire)

The King’s decision to publicise his treatment for an enlarged prostate was praised when the Queen visited a charity celebrating 850 years of supporting the elderly.

Camilla travelled to Bath to mark the anniversary of the St John’s Foundation, established in 1174 to tackle poverty and poor living conditions in Bath.

And for the second day in succession, the Queen gave an update about her husband’s recuperation.

When asked about his health, she said: “He’s recovering well, thank you”.

The Queen is the most senior member of the royal family undertaking public engagements as the King is recuperating and the Princess of Wales is recovering from abdominal surgery, with William taking a break from royal events to support his family.

In a quiet courtyard in Bath city centre, where the foundation houses some of its residents in almshouses, Camilla chatted to a group housed by the charity over tea and cakes.

Rita Willis, 86, spoke to the royal guest and said afterwards: “I asked her to convey to the King how good it was he spoke about his prostate diagnosis, and she said she would.”

The King underwent a corrective procedure for the benign condition last week and it has been reported that Charles could take up to a month off from public duties as he recuperates.

Charles is understood to have wanted to share the news to encourage other men to get themselves checked.

NHS England has said the “enlarged prostate” page on the NHS website received one visit every five seconds on the day the King’s diagnosis was announced, with further huge boosts in visits in the days that followed.

When Joanna Laurence, 77, a retired secretary, mentioned she was a keen gardener, Camilla spoke about her love of the activity.

She said: “I find it the most relaxing thing in the world, you come in and everything starts stiffening up, it’s worth it.”

The Queen commented about homegrown produce from the King’s private Highgrove home in Gloucestershire, saying: “Eating your own vegetables is incredibly special.”

She also joked about the large display of cupcakes in the middle of the table: “Somebody has been doing a lot of baking around here, very smart buns.”

Camilla has been the foundation’s patron since 2009 and she walked the short distance from the almshouses to Bath Abbey where a service celebrating the 850th anniversary of St John’s Foundation was held.

Members of the public began lining the route and the Queen went on an impromptu walkabout, shaking hands and briefly chatting with well-wishers.

Today, the foundation provides sheltered housing in 94 almshouses to those aged over 65 without a property, and in 2020 it widened the scope of its work launching a Foundation Fund to insure children have the best start in life.

The Queen’s final steps to the abbey’s west door were lined by almost 900 children from seven primary schools supported by the fund.

Ben Fletcher, chairman of St John’s Foundation, said after the service: “Because we’ve been here for so long, St John’s is really woven into the city and I think what it ultimately gives, is a degree of comfort.

“If you really need help beyond what can be provided by the Government or the local authority – St John’s is there, we are the last line of defence for people in greatest need.”

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