Smiling King Charles visits cancer centre on his return to public duties

  • World
  • Tuesday, 30 Apr 2024

Britain's King Charles leaves after attending the Easter Matins Service at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, Britain March 31, 2024. REUTERS/Hollie Adams/Pool/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) -A smiling and healthy-looking King Charles returned to public duties on Tuesday for the first time since he was diagnosed with cancer in February, telling patients at a treatment centre for the disease in London that he was "alright".

Buckingham Palace announced on Friday that doctors were sufficiently pleased with the 75-year-old king's response to treatment for the unspecified form of cancer that he would be able to resume some public-facing engagements.

The first of these saw the king and his wife Queen Camilla visit the University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre where he looked cheerful, waving to those gathered outside on his arrival.

"I'm alright, thank you," Charles told one patient, while he said to another that he would be having treatment himself later.

The visit also marked Charles becoming the new patron of the Cancer Research UK charity, and was designed to help raise awareness of the importance of early diagnosis of the disease.

Charles' health issues began in January when it was revealed that he would be admitted to hospital to have a corrective procedure for a benign enlarged prostate.

The following month, the palace said tests had uncovered the presence of a "form of cancer", but gave no further details beyond saying it did not involve his prostate.

He has rested and undergone treatment since then, continuing with official state duties in private. He was well enough to greet well-wishers after an Easter church service at the end of March.

Although his diary will be carefully managed to minimise any risks to his health, the palace said he might attend some annual events such as 'Trooping the Colour' military parade in June, as well as commemorations to mark the 80th anniversary of the World War Two D-Day landings, also in June.

The Palace has confirmed Charles and Camilla will host a state visit by the Japanese Emperor Naruhito and his wife Empress Masako in late June.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's spokesman said the king's return was "great news". "We all continue to wish him a full and speedy recovery as he returns to public duty," the spokesman told reporters.

Charles' illness came less than 18 months after he succeeded his mother Queen Elizabeth. His nephew Peter Phillips has said the monarch, who is know for his desire to keep busy, had found the limitation imposed by his treatment frustrating.

Also absent has been Charles' daughter-in-law Kate, wife of his son and heir Prince William, who is undergoing preventative chemotherapy after tests in the wake of major abdominal surgery revealed cancer had been present.

(Reporting by Michael HoldenEditing by William Schomberg and Christina Fincher)

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