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King ‘on good form’ after cancer treatment as he heads home after seeing Harry

Charles is said to have briefly met the Duke of Sussex before travelling to Sandringham

Holly Evans
Tuesday 06 February 2024 18:55 GMT
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King Charles and Camilla return to Buckingham Palace

King Charles was flown by helicopter to Sandringham this afternoon after reuniting with Prince Harry and making a brief public appearance for the first time since his cancer diagnosis was revealed.

The King appeared in good spirits as he smiled and waved to the gathered crowds as he left Clarence House, in central London, flanked by the Queen. He is understood to have boarded a helicopter with Camilla from Buckingham Palace shortly afterwards.

Earlier in the afternoon, the Duke of Sussex put a royal rift aside by returning to London to visit his father. Prince Harry is understood to have spent around 45 minutes with the King, having arrived at Clarence House just hours after touching down at Heathrow Airport.

Prince Harry arrives at Clarence House after flying from California to visit his father (Peter Macdiarmid/LNP)

The King is said to be on his “usual good form” after undergoing his first treatment but is understood to be a “little frustrated” that his diagnosis has affected both his plans and those of people around him.

Several black Range Rovers were seen escorting Harry from the airport, as his wife Meghan Markle and two children remain in California, where they have resided since stepping down as working royals in 2020.

The duke had not visited the UK since September when he attended a WellChild awards event, but was not believed to have spent any time with his father or estranged brother.

Two black SUVs, one believed to be carrying Prince Harry, arrive at Clarence House (PA)

The last time he came face-to-face with the monarch was during the Coronation last May, although he made a speedy exit to return to the US to celebrate his son Archie’s fourth birthday.

However, he cleared his diary after the 75-year-old monarch personally called him to inform him of his diagnosis before Buckingham Palace released its public statement at 6pm on Monday.

The King began treatment for an undisclosed cancer this week, after the disease 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.

Upon the advice of his doctors, he has postponed all his public duties but will continue to deal with state business and paperwork while other royals are expected to step up and hold the fort.

A helicopter was seen leaving Buckingham Palace for the royal family’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk (PA)

This will include maintaining regular contact with the prime minister, with Rishi Sunak saying he had been left “shocked and sad” by the news.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “All our thoughts are with him and his family. Thankfully, this has been caught early.”

It comes during a difficult month for the monarchy as they face a string of health setbacks, with the Princess of Wales also stepping away from public duties until Easter after undergoing abdominal surgery.

Prince William is set to return to official engagements on Wednesday with an investiture after taking an extended period to juggle caring for his wife and their three children.

Charles and Camilla wave to the crowds gathered on The Mall (Reuters)

Kate Middleton spent nearly two weeks at the London Clinic, where Charles was also being treated for his prostate, but has now returned to the couple’s home in Adelaide Cottage on the Windsor Castle estate.

Meanwhile, the Princess Royal, who is often regarded as the hardest-working royal, undertook four engagements on Tuesday which included visiting a care centre, a woolmaker and carrying out an investiture.

The King’s younger brother, Prince Edward, is also set to return to royal duties on Thursday while Queen Camilla is set to carry on as usual.

Among the other royals who are rallying around the King, his niece Princess Beatrice was also spotted leaving the back entrance of Clarence House.

Princess Anne carried out four engagements, including an investiture, on Tuesday (Yui Mok/PA)

Royal watchers have expressed hopes that Harry’s appearance at his father’s side will mark the beginning of a reconciliation, and could lead to the healing of the long-standing rift between him and William.

However, it is understood that the Prince of Wales has no plans to meet Harry during his last-minute trip to the UK. The pair are understood to have fallen out badly after the Duke of Sussex made several allegations against his family in an Oprah interview, his Netflix documentary and his tell-all memoir Spare.

They included accusations that William had physically attacked him during an argument over Meghan, and that Kensington Palace had lied to protect him over reports he bullied Harry out of the royal family.

Following the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral in 2021, Charles reportedly pleaded with his sons during a tense meeting: “Please boys. Don’t make my final years a misery.”

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