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King Charles Speaks Out for First Time Following Cancer Diagnosis

Buckingham Palace announced on Feb. 5 that the King was diagnosed with cancer following treatment for benign prostate enlargement

<p>Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty</p> King Charles attends the Sunday service at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene on the Sandringham estate on February 4.

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

King Charles attends the Sunday service at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene on the Sandringham estate on February 4.

King Charles is making his first public statement after announcing his cancer diagnosis.

In a statement released by Buckingham Palace on Saturday, the 75-year-old monarch expressed his thanks for all of the well-wishes he has received in the wake of his health news.

"I would like to express my most heartfelt thanks for the many messages of support and good wishes I have received in recent days," the King said in the statement. "As all those who have been affected by cancer will know, such kind thoughts are the greatest comfort and encouragement."

"It is equally heartening to hear how sharing my own diagnosis has helped promote public understanding and shine a light on the work of all those organisations which support cancer patients and their families across the U.K. and wider world," the statement continued. "My lifelong admiration for their tireless care and dedication is all the greater as a result of my own personal experience."

The update comes after the palace announced on Feb. 5 that the King was diagnosed with cancer. The palace shared the statement one week after King Charles left the London Clinic following a three-day stay after undergoing treatment for an enlarged prostate on Jan. 26. However, he does not have prostate cancer.

"During The King's recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted. Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer," Buckingham Palace said in the statement.

"His Majesty has today commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties. Throughout this period, His Majesty will continue to undertake State business and official paperwork as usual," it continued.

<p>Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty</p> King Charles and Queen Camilla, accompanied by the Reverend Canon Dr. Paul Williams, attend the Sunday service at St. Mary Magdalene on February 4.

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

King Charles and Queen Camilla, accompanied by the Reverend Canon Dr. Paul Williams, attend the Sunday service at St. Mary Magdalene on February 4.

Related: King Charles’ Cancer Has Been ‘Caught Early’ Says British Prime Minister

"The King is grateful to his medical team for their swift intervention, which was made possible thanks to his recent hospital procedure. He remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible," the statement said. "His Majesty has chosen to share his diagnosis to prevent speculation and in the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer."

The announcement came the day after World Cancer Day, which the royal family marked on social media by recapping Queen Camilla’s outing to open the new Maggie’s Royal Free cancer support center at the Royal Free Hospital in London the week prior.

PEOPLE understands King Charles told his sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, about the diagnosis himself. A source said William, 41, was in regular contact with his father while Harry, 39, who relocated to California with his wife, Meghan Markle, in 2020, was expected to travel to the U.K. in the coming days

The King also personally informed his siblings, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, before the news was made public.

The monarch had stepped away from public duties amid his recovery from prostate surgery, and it remains unclear when he will return to royal engagements. PEOPLE understands he will continue to receive red boxes, the monarch's daily delivery of documents needing his attention, and process state documents during his treatment.

<p>Samir Hussein/WireImage</p> King Charles leaves the Scottish coronation celebration at St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland, on July 5, 2023.

Samir Hussein/WireImage

King Charles leaves the Scottish coronation celebration at St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland, on July 5, 2023.

Related: Buckingham Palace Shares a New Photo of King Charles amid Cancer Diagnosis

There are currently no plans to appoint Counsellors of State on King Charles' behalf, and Prince William is not expected to act as regent. The Prince of Wales, however, may undertake some duties for his father in addition to his diary of engagements, PEOPLE understands.

King Charles returned to London from Sandringham on Feb. 5 to commence treatment as an out-patient.

That Sunday, he stepped out to attend church at St. Mary Magdalene near Sandringham with Queen Camilla, 76. The appearance marked the monarch's first outing since leaving the hospital on Jan. 29 following the prostate treatment. The King seemed to be in good spirits when he left the London Clinic, and gave a wave on the way out of the private hospital where Kate Middleton had abdominal surgery on Jan. 16.

<p>Karwai Tang/WireImage</p> King Charles and Queen Camilla leave The London Clinic on January 29.

Karwai Tang/WireImage

King Charles and Queen Camilla leave The London Clinic on January 29.

On Jan. 17, Buckingham Palace announced that the sovereign was seeking treatment for an enlarged prostate — hours after Kensington Palace revealed that the Princess of Wales, 42, had "successful" surgery the day before.

“In common with thousands of men each year, The King has sought treatment for an enlarged prostate. His Majesty's condition is benign and he will attend hospital next week for a corrective procedure,” the palace statement said. “The King’s public engagements will be postponed for a short period of recuperation.”

King Charles disclosed his diagnosis in hopes that it would inspire men to get checked, and his decision proved to make an impact. After his announcement, there was a 1,000% increase in searches about prostate enlargement on the U.K.’s National Health Service website.

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<p>Samir Hussein/WireImage; Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty</p> King Charles at the launch of the Coronation Food Project on November 14, 2023; Kate Middleton at the Grange Pavilion to meet members of the Windrush Cymru Elders during the start of Black History Month on October 3, 2023.

Samir Hussein/WireImage; Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

King Charles at the launch of the Coronation Food Project on November 14, 2023; Kate Middleton at the Grange Pavilion to meet members of the Windrush Cymru Elders during the start of Black History Month on October 3, 2023.

PEOPLE understands that King Charles visited his daughter-in-law Princess Kate at the London Clinic before his own surgery. Kensington Palace said in the statement released on Jan. 17 that the Princess of Wales, 42, was expected to remain at the hospital for 10 to 14 days following the “successful” surgery before heading home to continue her recovery.

PEOPLE understands that Kate’s issue is non-cancerous, and the Kensington Palace statement said, “Based on the current medical advice, she is unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter.”

Palace sources told PEOPLE that the Princess of Wales was "doing well," and Kensington Palace said she was "making good progress" as she was discharged from the hospital on Jan. 29.

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