King Charles visits cancer center in 1st return to public duties since cancer diagnosis

Charles' cancer diagnosis was announced in February by Buckingham Palace.

April 30, 2024, 7:32 AM

King Charles III visited a cancer treatment center in London Tuesday, marking his first public royal engagement since his own cancer diagnosis was announced in February.

Charles, 75, was joined by his wife, Queen Camilla, during the visit to the University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre, which was not associated with his treatment.

The king and the queen met with the center's staff and patients, some of whom are undergoing chemotherapy.

PHOTO: King Charles III and Queen Camilla visit University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre
King Charles III speaks with Clinician Scientist and Group Leader at the UCL Cancer Institute in London, Mariam Jamal-Hanjani next to Queen Camilla speaking with Cancer Research UK's Chief Clinician, Charlie Swanton, as they meet with staff members during a visit to University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre on April 30, 2024 in London, England.
Suzanne Plunkett/WPA Pool/Getty Images

When asked by a patient how he is doing, Charles replied, "Not too bad. It’s always a bit of a shock, isn’t it, when they tell you?," according to the U.K.'s The Telegraph newspaper.

Buckingham Palace announced on Feb. 5, that Charles had been diagnosed with cancer following treatment for benign prostate enlargement.

The palace has not disclosed publicly what type of cancer Charles was diagnosed with, nor what type of treatment he is undergoing.

In announcing Charles's return to public duties, the palace noted that Charles is still undergoing treatment but has been approved to remove some public-facing duties.

"His Majesty is greatly encouraged to be resuming some public-facing duties and very grateful to his medical team for their continued care and expertise," a palace spokesperson said in a statement Friday.

Britain's King Charles III and Britain's Queen Camilla, holding bunches of flowers, wave to crowds after to visit to the University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre in London on April 30, 2024.
Henry Nicholls/AFP via Getty Images

While he did not hold public engagements, Charles had for the past three months continued the behind-the-scenes work of a monarch, handling official paperwork and continuing his weekly audiences with Britain's prime minister.

Prior to Tuesday's appearance, the king was last seen publicly on Easter Sunday, when he and Camilla joined other members of the royal family for the Easter Mattins Service at St. George's Chapel in Windsor, England.

According to the palace, Charles will continue to hold public-facing engagements throughout the summer, but his schedule will "remain subject to doctors' advice."

"His Majesty’s treatment program will continue, but doctors are sufficiently pleased with the progress made so far that The King is now able to resume a number of public-facing duties," a palace spokesperson said in a statement. "Forthcoming engagements will be adapted where necessary to minimize any risks to His Majesty’s continued recovery."

In June, Charles is expected to be joined by members of the royal family in celebrating his second Trooping the Colour as king.

Also in June, Charles and Camilla are expected to host the emperor and empress of Japan for a state visit.

Next month marks the first anniversary of Charles and Camilla's historic coronation ceremony, which took place on May 6, 2023, at Westminster Abbey.