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King Charles issues first public statement since cancer diagnosis

King Charles had not spoken since Buckingham Palace announced his cancer diagnosis on Monday

Alex Ross
Friday 09 February 2024 09:38 GMT
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Reason why King Charles and Harry's meeting was so short revealed

King Charles has issued his first public statement following his cancer diagnosis.

The 75-year-old monarch revealed that he had been diagnosed with cancer on Monday, before flying with Queen Camilla to Sandringham, where he is resting following the start of treatment.

On Wednesday night, he broke his public silence to issue a statement to mark the 50th anniversary of independence of the former British colony Grenada.

The King apologised for being unable to visit the Caribbean island, making reference to Grenada’s national dish, a stew known as “Oil Down”.

The statement read: “I can only say how sorry I am that I cannot be with you in person to mark this momentous milestone, and to enjoy a little Oil Down with you all!

King Charles with Camilla. The pair flew to Sandringham on Tuesday where the King is resting (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

“My thoughts are with everyone across Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique, and all those in the Grenadian diaspora - ’one people, one family’ - as you celebrate everything you have achieved and all that your future holds. My family join me in sending our heartfelt congratulations to you all.”

Charles also said he had “special memories” from visiting Grenada five years ago with Camilla.

The statement said: “My wife and I hold such special memories of our visit to your beautiful ‘Spice Island’ five years ago, and of the warm and touching welcome you extended to us.

“Then, as whenever I have met Grenadians anywhere in the world, I was struck by your resilience, the strength of your community and by your shared determination to make a positive difference.”

Charles and Camillia visited Grenada five years ago. Charles said he had ’special memories’ from the trip (REUTERS)

The statement was issued on the same night Prince William attended a charity gala dinner in London, where he thanked the public for their “kind messages of support”. Earlier in the day, the Prince of Wales led an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle.

Meanwhile, Prince Harry was spotted at London Heathrow ahead of his flight back to the US having spent just over 24 hours in the country. Harry had a meeting with Charles that lasted less than an hour on Tuesday.

Their previous face-to-face meeting had been during the Coronation last May, although he made a speedy exit to return to the US to celebrate his son Archie’s fourth birthday.

The King’s cancer was discovered while he was being treated for a benign enlarged prostate last month.

The palace confirmed it was not prostate cancer but has remained tight-lipped about the nature and stage of his illness.

Charles personally called both Harry and William, as well as his siblings Anne, the Duke of York and the Duke of Edinburgh, to give them the news before it was publicly announced to the nation by the Palace at 6pm on Monday.

The Palace has called for the King’s privacy to be respected, especially during his treatment, but said he wanted to make his diagnosis public because of his long-running support for cancer charities.

When the King shared his diagnosis of an enlarged prostate there was a significant increase in searches for the condition on the NHS website.

(AFP via Getty Images)

On the day after the announcement there were 16,410 visits to the NHS website’s prostate enlargement page compared with 1,414 visits the previous day.

Buckingham Palace said that the King chose to share his cancer diagnosis to “prevent speculation and in the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer”.

As other royal family members will look to step up their responsiblities to support the King, there has already been an indication that he will resume weekly meetings in person with Rishi Sunak in two weeks.

And the statement on Grenada’s anniversary of independence showed he looked to continue his work despite his diagnosis.

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