King Charles III’s cancer ‘caught early,’ says PM Rishi Sunak

LONDON — King Charles III’s cancer has been “caught early,” the U.K. prime minister said Tuesday.

Responding to the monarch’s diagnosis of an unspecified form of cancer — which sent shockwaves through the British establishment Monday — Rishi Sunak offered his best wishes and said his regular contact with the Charles would continue.

“Like everyone else I’m shocked and sad,” Sunak told BBC Radio 5 Live. “All our thoughts are with him and his family. Thankfully, this has been caught early.”

Buckingham Palace announced Monday evening that hospital tests carried out on Charles during treatment for an enlarged prostate had identified a form of cancer. The form and nature of the monarch’s cancer has not been disclosed, but the palace has confirmed it is not prostate cancer.

The 75-year-old monarch — who only ascended to the British throne in September 2022 following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II — will continue with his royal duties but is stepping back from “public-facing” aspects of the role, the palace said. His younger son Harry, who lives in California, is returning to the U.K., according to reports.

Asked what the monarch’s diagnosis means for the day-to-day running of the country, Sunak — who holds a weekly behind-closed-doors audience with the king — told the BBC “we’ll crack on with everything” and reiterated his hope that Charles “gets the treatment that he needs and makes a full recovery.”

“That’s what we’re all hoping and praying for, and I’m of course in regular contact with him and will continue to communicate with him as normal,” Sunak added.

The U.K.’s largely unwritten constitution has contingency plans in place should the king’s health worsen. Should Charles III need to step away further from his royal duties, he can nominate “councillors of state” to take over his duties.

These would be his spouse, Queen Camilla, and the next four adults in the line of succession: his sons William and Harry, brother Andrew and his daughter Beatrice.