Charles' Cancer Diagnosis Has Royals on 'Thin Ground'

BBC notes that many family members have removed themselves from public duties
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2024 12:00 AM CST
Updated Feb 6, 2024 6:35 AM CST
Harry Will Travel to UK to See King Charles
Britain's King Charles III, second left, Prince Harry, second right, and Prince William, left, follow the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II during a procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall in London, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

People reports that Prince Harry will return to the UK within the next few days as his father, King Charles, is undergoing treatment for cancer. Charles is understood to have personally informed both Harry and his brother, Prince William, of his diagnosis, as well as his three siblings, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward. Since stepping back from roles as working members of the royal family in 2020, Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, have lived in California with their two children, Prince Archie, 4, and Princess Lilibet, 2. He has been back several times, however, including for the funerals of his grandfather and grandmother and his father's coronation. More coverage related to the king's cancer diagnosis:

  • What does it mean for the rest of the royals? Per the BBC, William "will now be expected to play a bigger role in terms of public appearances and covering for official duties," but he is likely under quite a bit of stress considering not only his father's diagnosis but his wife's unspecified health ailment. (Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, also revealed a recent cancer diagnosis.) Queen Camilla, the outlet notes, is "now center stage, carrying out a series of solo engagements last week, as a senior member of a shrinking group of working royals."

  • More on that shrinking group: The BBC points out how few of the working royals are young, and how many have stepped back from working roles—and a royal expert who spoke to Fox News underscored those points. The diagnosis "does leave the royals very thin on the ground," he says.
  • What questions might it raise? The Guardian notes Charles was the heir apparent for a record seven decades, and started his new job long after many other men would have retired. His cancer diagnosis will likely "once again raise questions about whether it is fair to expect a man in his mid-70s to fulfil a rota of public duties," the paper says.
  • Biden's reaction: The US president said during a campaign event Monday that he hopes to speak to Charles soon, "God willing," Politico reports. "I'm concerned about him. Just heard about his diagnosis," Biden said in Las Vegas.
  • Some morbid questions: Harper's Bazaar answers the question of what Camilla's title will be if Charles dies before her (Queen Dowager, or widow of a king) while the AP looks at the order of succession: William, of course, is next in line to the throne, but the outlet goes all the way to No. 15. (See the list here.)

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