King Charles Told His Family About His Cancer Diagnosis Before It Was Announced

In a shocking announcement this afternoon, Buckingham Palace announced King Charles was diagnosed with cancer. They did not specify what type of cancer, only sharing that the king "remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible. 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."

It is understood that King Charles told his children, Prince William and Prince Harry, personally before the news was made public. Prince Harry plans to travel to the UK this week to see his father. The King also personally informed his siblings—Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward—of his diagnosis.

As of now, Charles will continue to work behind the scenes, though he will not undertake public duties. There are no current plans to appoint Counsellors of State to serve on his behalf. Under the Regency Act of 1937, Counsellors of State are authorized to carry out most of the official duties of the sovereign—they are the spouse of the sovereign (Queen Camilla), the next four people in the line of succession who are over the age of 21 (Prince William, Prince Harry, Prince Andrew, and Princess Beatrice), and, as of December 2022, Charles's siblings Princess Anne and Prince Edward were added to the list.

Per the UK parliament, "Section 6 of the Regency Act 1937 allows the Monarch to delegate certain royal functions to Counsellors of State if he is absent from the United Kingdom (ie on an overseas visit) or unwell. Letters Patent (a legal document) specifies the duties these Counsellors can carry out, which can include holding Privy Council meetings or granting Royal Assent to legislations."

The Palace does not expect that delegating royal functions to Counsellors of State will be necessary.

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