Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined a chorus of well-wishers from Canada and around the world on Monday in wishing King Charles a speedy recovery after Buckingham Palace revealed the monarch has been diagnosed with cancer.
Trudeau said that after hearing the news, he’s thinking about the King, as are countless others.
“I, like Canadians across the country and people around the world, am thinking of His Majesty King Charles III as he undergoes treatment for cancer,” Trudeau said on social media.
“We’re sending him our very best wishes — and hoping for a fast and full recovery.”
Gov. Gen. Mary Simon said she like all Canadians is sending good wishes to the King as he begins treatment. In a statement, Simon praised the monarch for leading by example in choosing to share his diagnosis.
“Seeing His Majesty acknowledge cancer so openly and publicly will hopefully encourage and motivate those who are struggling with their own treatment,” she wrote. “We admire the King’s strength and determination as he confronts this disease.”
The palace did not release additional details, except to say the cancer is not related to the King’s recent treatment for a benign prostate condition.
King Charles has begun cancer treatment and will postpone some of his public-facing duties, the palace noted, although it said he will continue to handle routine paperwork and matters of state. As well, the 75-year-old won’t be handing over his constitutional roles as head of state.
News of the diagnosis comes as his daughter-in-law Kate, Princess of Wales, recovers from abdominal surgery for which she was hospitalized for about two weeks.
The palace says the King is being treated as an outpatient. He remains “wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible,” the statement read.
Nathan Tidridge, vice-president of the Institute for the study of the Crown in Canada, said King Charles’s diagnosis won’t have an impact on the “machinery of state” in Canada — even if a more complete break from duties is needed — because the governor general performs most of the functions of the monarch in this country.
However, he said other activities could be impacted, including meetings between the King and Indigenous groups or with charities from Canada that he has taken a keen interest in. The discussions around an eventual royal tour of Canada could also be delayed, he said.
“Right from the beginning of the reign, (King Charles) has been quite hands-on and hit the ground running,” Tidridge said. “So I would assume by this diagnosis he would be quite frustrated because he has quite a robust agenda and he’s a workaholic, so anything that kind of impedes that is going to be frustrating.”
In a post on social media, Ralph Goodale, Canada’s high commissioner to the United Kingdom, described the news as “troubling” and wished the King a “speedy and complete recovery.”
Ontario Lt.-Gov. Edith Dumont, like Simon, praised the monarch for sharing his diagnosis publicly, saying doing so helps “raise awareness of the impact that cancer can have on people’s lives.”
Manitoba’s lieutenant-governor called the public disclosure “admirable.”
“His approach may also serve to inspire others to seek needed medical attention, while also offering a sense of comfort and camaraderie to those already in care,” Anita Neville said.
Tidridge said the decision to share his diagnosis wasn’t a surprise because King Charles has taken a more transparent approach than previous generations of royals — and because his absence from duties would naturally attract questions.
While there were no details on the type of cancer or its severity, Tidridge said he expects the King will offer more information if his health requires it. But Tidridge said that, like others, he’s hoping instead for a speedy recovery.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 5, 2024.
— By Morgan Lowrie in Montreal with files from The Associated Press.