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What King Charles' cancer diagnosis means for other senior royals

It's having a ripple effect on Queen Camilla and Prince William

Charles with the Wales children on Christmas Day 2022
Ainhoa Barcelona
Ainhoa BarcelonaContent Managing Editor
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Here's an extract from today's newsletter all about Charles' diagnosis, or head to the Club to read the newsletter in full...

Charles and Camilla on the balcony with William and Kate at Trooping the Colour© Getty
Charles has his whole family behind him

It hasn't even been 24 hours since Buckingham Palace announced that King Charles has cancer and has started a regular schedule of treatment. But there's been so much to say about his diagnosis and what this all means not just for the King, but for other members of the royal family too.

The 75-year-old monarch is feeling "very positive" about his treatment and we know that doctors caught the cancer early. A known workaholic, Charles is quietly carrying on, dealing with his red boxes which contain his state business and official papers. He's also expected to hold his weekly audience with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his monthly meetings with the Privy Council, which can be done remotely if need be. 

WATCH: The King has been diagnosed with cancer

But no matter how you mask it, Charles has been advised by doctors to cancel his public-facing engagements, and there's no doubt his diagnosis has had a ripple effect on other royals.

He always advocated for a slimmed-down monarchy and with only two of the senior working royals under the age of 50 (Prince William and Princess Kate, who is out of action until Easter due to her post-surgery recovery), a lot of pressure falls on the shoulders of other members of The Firm. 

We're sure the royal family will rally together to support Charles. It's what they do best in times of crises – have each other's back, and in this particular moment of time, provide a sense of stability and continuity when health scares are rocking the royal family.

The Prince of Wales

Charles, Camilla, William and Kate at Scottish coronation© Getty
William is expected to deputise for Charles, although he's also looking after his wife Kate post-surgery

As next-in-line to the throne, Prince William is expected to shoulder more responsibilities. His situation is a bit more complicated though, given that he himself took a break from royal duties to care for his wife Kate following her abdominal surgery last month, and to help look after their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. 

But William, 41, is returning to work this week. He'll carry out an investiture at Windsor Castle on Wednesday – which is one of his regular duties – and also attend the London Air Ambulance annual fundraising evening gala in central London in his role as patron of the charity.

His return to the spotlight will be seen as an attempt to signal stability, but we know that given his nuclear family's own health problems, it won't be an easy ride for William.

He will likely step up and carry out duties on behalf of his father, as well as keep his own royal diary. Upcoming events in which he could play a key role include the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on 11 March, and the 80th anniversary of D-Day in June.

Charles and Camilla were also expected to make long-haul trips this year – to Canada in May and to Australia, New Zealand, and Samoa for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in October. Depending on Charles' treatment and recovery, William may have to deputise for his father, who is head of the Commonwealth, just like Charles did for his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

Queen Camilla

King charles and camilla leaving hospital © Getty Images
Camilla is often hailed as Charles's "rock"

Charles' devoted wife Camilla has been holding the royal fort for the past few weeks already, continuing with her public appearances while the King underwent a procedure for an enlarged prostrate last month, and William temporarily stepped back to care for Kate.

Like her stepson, Camilla will resume her full programme of public engagements, and may undertake additional duties on behalf of her husband if she is required to.

Acting as an unshakeable pillar of support is something Camilla has always excelled at. In his first speech as monarch in September 2022, Charles said: "I count on the loving help of my darling wife, Camilla. In recognition of her own loyal public service since our marriage 17 years ago, she becomes my Queen Consort. I know she will bring to the demands of her new role the steadfast devotion to duty on which I have come to rely so much."

Indeed, Camilla is often hailed as Charles' "rock". As her sister Annabel Elliot so succinctly put it in Robert Hardman's BBC documentary, Charles III: The Coronation Year: "They're yin and yang, really, they really are polar opposites, but I think it works brilliantly. She is his rock and I can't actually emphasise that enough. She's somebody who is completely loyal."

We hope you enjoyed reading the first half of our newsletter. To read it in full, head to the HELLO! Royal Club and sign up to become a member.


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