What to Know about King Charles III’s Cancer Diagnosis

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King Charles News: British Monarch Diagnosed with Cancer

On February 5, Buckingham Palace announced King Charles III has an unspecified form of cancer and has begun “regular treatments.” The diagnosis was made following a procedure the 75-year-old underwent in late January for a “benign” enlarged prostate. The Palace statement described the cancer as a “separate issue.”

Charles won’t perform his public-facing duties for the duration of his treatment, though he will continue to do paperwork and attend private meetings. He has served as the British monarch for nearly a year and a half and was crowned in May 2023.

“He remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible,” the statement reads. “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.”

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Who Is King Charles III?

King Charles III has been the United Kingdom’s monarch since September 8, 2022, following the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II. He was crowned during his coronation on May 6, 2023. Under public scrutiny his entire life as the oldest child of Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Charles became Prince of Wales at age 9 and held the title for more than 60 years. In 1970, he became the first heir apparent to graduate college, then embarked on a military career that culminated with him commanding the HMS Bronington. Charles married Diana Spencer in 1981 to huge media fanfare, though the couple divorced in 1996 after years of gossip and scandal. Charles wed longtime love Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005. He is the father of Princes William and Harry and also has 10 grandchildren. Among his many philanthropic and environmental endeavors are the King’s Trust and the King’s Foundation.

Quick Facts

FULL NAME: Charles Philip Arthur George
BORN: November 14, 1948
BIRTHPLACE: London, England
SPOUSES: Princess Diana (1981-1996) and Queen Camilla (2005-present)
CHILDREN: Prince William and Prince Harry
PARENTS: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
SIBLINGS: Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward

Early Life: Name, Siblings, and More

King Charles III was born Charles Philip Arthur George on November 14, 1948, in London. He is the oldest of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s four children.

What Is King Charles’ Last Name?

Charles has no given last name; as a prince, he didn’t need to use one. Because he belongs to the House of Windsor, he can be called Charles Windsor. His father’s surname was Mountbatten, and his mother decided that her descendants could take the name Mountbatten-Windsor, so that’s another possible last name for Charles should he need to use one. His sister, Princess Anne, used Mountbatten-Windsor as her last name when she got married in 1973.

Royals also sometimes use their titles as surnames; Charles was Prince of Wales for decades before he became king, so his two sons used Wales as a last name when they attended school and served in the military.


In the spotlight from birth, Charles ascended the royal hierarchy at an early age. His mother became queen when he was only 3 after the death of his grandfather King George VI in 1952. As Elizabeth’s oldest child, Charles became the heir apparent to the British throne and received the title of Duke of Cornwall. By that time, he was also an older brother to his sister, Princess Anne. Charles had two more siblings by 1964: Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.

Today, both Anne, the Princess Royal, and Edward, the Duke of Edinburgh, are working members of the royal family. In addition to attending official engagements, they are permitted to serve as Counsellors of State who can temporarily stand in for Charles to fulfill some of the monarch’s duties. Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, stepped back from his royal duties in 2019 following a scandal tying him to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. He was permanently sidelined in January 2022 with the loss of his military titles and royal patronages, shortly before settling a civil case for sexual assault. All three of Charles’ siblings remain in the line of succession; Andrew is No. 8, Edward No. 14, and Anne No. 17.


In 1956, Charles went to the Hill House School in London before heading off to boarding school at the Cheam School the following year. In addition to his education, he had increased responsibilities as he was made the Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester at age 9. Beginning in 1962, Charles changed schools again to go to Gordonstoun in Scotland. Later in the decade, he also studied in Melbourne, Australia, as an exchange student.

Charles then studied archaeology, anthropology, and history at Trinity College, part of the University of Cambridge, from 1967 to 1970. In addition to his studies, he was active in campus life, involving himself in several activities such as polo. After receiving his degree in 1970—the first royal heir apparent to do so—Charles embarked on a career in the military.

Military Service

After six months of aviation training with the Royal Air Force, Charles joined the Royal Navy in 1971, going on to serve on the HMS Norfolk and receiving a promotion in 1973 to acting lieutenant.

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During the mid-1970s, Charles joined the Royal Naval Air Station to receive helicopter training and later served as a helicopter pilot for the 845 Naval Air Squadron, based on the HMS Hermes. His time with the Hermes included a tour of the Caribbean and Canadian waters before he took up additional course work at the Royal Naval College in Greenwich. In 1976, Charles ended his military service as commander of the HMS Bronington.

Toward the close of the decade, Charles further expanded his military skill set with parachute training, having already taken the reins at times as the pilot for the Queen’s Flight, the monarchy’s official aircraft. He was eventually promoted to Group Captain for the Royal Air Force in 1995 and, in the new millennium, was again promoted to the rank of Air Chief Marshal.

Marriage and Children with Princess Diana

As a public figure, Charles came off to many as intelligent yet aloof and a bit awkward. He was used to having every move he made scrutinized by the press, but even he couldn’t have imagined what a sensation his relationship with Lady Diana Spencer would cause. The two had known each other when they were young but were reintroduced in the late 1970s. Despite a 13-year age difference as well as divergent interests, the couple became engaged in February 1981. The public took a strong liking to his shy, former kindergarten teacher fiancée, finding her more accessible than the reserved prince at the time.

princess diana and prince charles sit in an open carriage and wave and smile at crowds, she wears a veil and wedding dress, he wears a military uniform including a hat and white gloves
Princess Diana and Prince Charles wave to the crowds following their wedding at St Paul’s Cathedral on July 29, 1981.Getty Images

Charles and Diana were married on July 29, 1981, in a lavish ceremony that was broadcast around the world and watched by millions of people. She became Diana, Princess of Wales, but was popularly known as the People’s Princess.

Less than a year later, the couple welcomed their first child. Prince William was born on June 21, 1982. Two years later, Prince Harry arrived on September 15, 1984. Since childhood, their sons have been frequently in the public eye.

Charles and Diana’s common love for their children wasn’t enough to hold what was billed as a fairy-tale marriage together. The union became strained over the years due to their royal responsibilities, personal conflicts, media pressures, and collective infidelities. The couple officially separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996.

Diana died in a car crash in Paris in August 1997. Despite their divorce, Charles traveled with her sisters to France to accompany her body back to England. During her funeral procession, he walked with their sons—then-15-year-old William and 12-year-old HarryPrince Philip, and Diana’s brother, Earl Charles Spencer. The Prince of Wales took his role as father to his grieving sons seriously, asking the media for privacy for his family.

Today, Charles reportedly has a close bond with William, who is first in line for the throne. The king’s relationship with his younger son has been more distant since Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, left their royal duties behind and moved to California in 2020. In 2021, Harry shared that he felt “let down” by his father’s lack of support when Markle experienced negative tabloid coverage. Harry is No. 5 in the line of succession.

Wife Queen Camilla

King Charles has been married to Queen Camilla, also known as Camilla Parker Bowles, for nearly two decades. However, their relationship has a much longer history.

Charles first encountered Camilla Shand in the early 1970s, and they soon embarked upon a love affair. Yet there was no question of marriage at the time. Camilla was from the British upper class, but she wasn’t a member of the nobility. In addition, the fact that she wasn’t a virgin counted against her.

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In 1973, while Charles was serving in the military, Camilla married Andrew Parker Bowles, but her friendship with Charles continued. As Charles’ marriage to Diana broke down, he and Camilla resumed a romantic relationship reportedly around 1986. In 1993, a leaked transcript of a conversation between the two revealed intimate details of their affair. The incident was dubbed “Camillagate.”

In 1994, Charles admitted he had been unfaithful in a television interview. Camilla and Andrew, who share two children together, divorced the next year. After his own divorce, Charles wanted to bring his relationship with Camilla out into the open. That was delayed by Diana’s death, but the couple made their first public appearance in 1999.

prince philip, queen elizabeth ii and bruce shand sit in the front row, prince harry, prince william, prince charles, camilla parker bowles, tom parker bowles and laura parker bowles stand in the back row inside an ornate room
Then-Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, with their families on their wedding day, April 9, 2005. Getty Images

Charles and Camilla married on April 9, 2005. Because they had both been divorced, the couple opted for a civil ceremony at the Windsor Guildhall with a religious blessing of their union after the service at St. George’s Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle. After marriage, Camilla didn’t take the title of Princess of Wales in deference to Diana’s memory, instead using the title Duchess of Cornwall.

Camilla has been a hardworking member of the royal family, both accompanying her husband on official visits and conducting her own official engagements. Although the marriage began with an announcement that, when Charles became king, Camilla would be known as Princess Consort, Queen Elizabeth II eventually approved of Camilla becoming her husband’s Queen Consort.

Becoming King and Coronation

king charles holds two scepters and wears a large crown and golden robes, he looks forward
King Charles III stands after being crowned during his coronation ceremony on May 6, 2023.Getty Images

On September 8, 2022, Prince Charles became King Charles III following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, who held the crown for more than seven decades. He was 73 and made history as the oldest person ever to assume the British throne. That day, he also became head of the Commonwealth of Nations, the 53-country association of Britain and its former colonies that began in 1949. Elizabeth had nominated Charles to succeed her in the nonhereditary role in April 2018, and the group quickly agreed.

Charles’ coronation took place on May 6, 2023, at Westminster Abbey. In a nod to his philanthropic interests, he invited more than 850 community and charity representatives to the ceremony. Before taking the throne, Charles had promised to have a multifaith coronation to respect the religious diversity and multicultural nature of the modern United Kingdom. He held true to this by including a preface to the coronation oath that the Anglican church “will seek to foster an environment where people of all faiths and beliefs may live freely.”

During the ceremony, Charles pledged to serve the country. He also vowed to protect the Protestant religion and preserve the Church of England, as required by the official coronation oath. At the moment of coronation, the Archbishop of Canterbury placed St. Edward’s Crown, a bejeweled and solid gold creation weighing nearly five pounds, on Charles’ head. This coronation crown was last worn during his mother’s 1953 coronation and won’t be used again until it’s placed on the head of the next sovereign. Charles used the lighter Imperial State Crown afterward, which his mother and his grandfather also wore during their coronations.

At the coronation, Charles’ wife was crowned as Queen Camilla. To avoid controversy, her crown didn’t hold the famous Koh-i-noor diamond, which was taken during Britain’s colonial era. Several countries claim the diamond and have demanded its return. Prince William pledged his loyalty to his father in the coronation ceremony. Prince Harry attended the coronation but didn’t participate in the service.

Two months after his coronation, Scotland celebrated Charles’ elevation to king with a ceremony at St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh on July 5, 2023. He was presented with the Honors of Scotland, also known as Scotland’s crown jewels. They consist of a scepter, sword of state, and the Scottish crown. As the original sword could be easily damaged if used in public, a new sword of state was commissioned and presented to the king. The Stone of Destiny, also known as Stone of Scone, was in the cathedral for the ceremony, as it had been in Westminster Abbey for Charles’ coronation.


Although Buckingham Palace is the royal family’s official residence, since becoming king, Charles has continued to live in Clarence House, his London quarters since 2003.

While Charles was still Prince of Wales, he freely shared his views on topics he was passionate about, such as architecture and the need to fight climate change. However, the monarch is expected to stay politically neutral, so Charles has had to behave differently as king. He didn’t attend the COP27 climate change conference in 2022 after the government advised against it, though he did speak at COP28 the following year.

Charles made a state visit to Germany in a move to heal the rift caused by Britain’s departure from the European Union. During a visit to Kenya, he expressed sorrow and regret about the violent repression of an independence movement uprising while the country was under British colonial rule.

After a year on the throne, Charles became more popular than he was while Prince of Wales. However, his mother’s beloved shadow looms large.


Besides his royal duties, Charles has been a leading philanthropist for decades. In 1976, he established the Prince’s Trust, a charitable organization dedicated to helping improve the lives of disadvantaged youth. The charity expanded its operations outside of the United Kingdom in 2015. Charles founded the Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund in 1979 to promote sustainable endeavors. Duchy Originals, an organic food company Charles started in 1990, gives its profits to charity as well.

In 1986, Charles launched the Prince’s Foundation, whose aims include improving educational services and funding arts initiatives. The Prince’s Foundation developed a bed and breakfast in northern Scotland, called The Granary Lodge, which opened in 2019. The B&B is located on the grounds of The Castle of Mey, the former retreat of Charles’ grandmother Queen Mother Elizabeth.

An outspoken environmentalist, Charles started the now-defunct Prince’s Rainforests Project, a global initiative with corporate and celebrity backing to curtail tropical deforestation, in 2007. His Charitable Fund eventually incorporated the Rainforests Project into a broader effort to protect fishing and prevent plastic pollution in oceans. That effort shut down operations in 2018, with the nonprofit World Resources Institute taking ownership of several projects.

Charles has sometimes made questionable decisions regarding his charities. In 2022, the Sunday Times reported that between 2011 and 2015 a former Qatari prime minister had given Charles 3 million euros for the Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund. One payment came in 2015 via a duffel bag with 1 million in cash; another million was delivered via shopping bags filled with cash. The report noted that the payments didn’t appear to be illegal.

Becoming king didn’t change Charles’ commitment to charitable causes. In 2023, a year after his accession to the throne, the Palace announced that the king’s charitable organizations would continue under new names. The Prince’s Trust became The King’s Trust, the Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund became the King Charles III Charitable Fund, and The Prince’s Foundation became The King’s Foundation. Charles has also continued to introduce new philanthropic enterprises. The Coronation Food Project, backed by the King Charles III Charitable Fund, has taken steps to help fight hunger by reducing food waste.


In 2013, Charles took on a new role: He became a grandfather with the July arrival of Prince George, the son of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Soon after his grandson’s birth, Charles released a statement: “Both my wife and I are overjoyed at the arrival of my first grandchild. It is an incredibly special moment for William and Catherine, and we are so thrilled for them on the birth of their baby boy.”

Today, the king has five grandchildren from his sons. In addition to Prince George, William and Kate welcomed Princess Charlotte in May 2015 and Prince Louis in April 2018. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had a son, Prince Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, in May 2019 followed by a daughter, Princess Lilibet Mounbatten-Windsor, in June 2021. Charlotte’s name honors her famous grandfather and her maternal aunt, Pippa Middleton. Charles first met Lilibet, who was born in California, in June 2022 during the Platinum Jubilee celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne.

Additionally, Charles has five step-grandchildren—two girls and three boys—from his marriage to Queen Camilla. Their names are Lola, Eliza, Freddy, Gus, and Louis. The boys, along with Prince George, all served as pages of honor at Charles’ coronation.

Net Worth

Assessments of Charles’ overall net worth vary. The Guardian estimated the king’s net worth at around £2 billion (approximately $2.3 billion) in 2023, while The Sunday Times calculated his wealth as approximately £600 million (roughly $750 million). His private fortune increased when he inherited real estate, jewelry, art, and more from his mother in 2022. Forbes estimated this inheritance was worth about $500 million. Charles didn’t have to pay any inheritance tax, a benefit solely available to wealth transfers between monarchs.

As king, Charles also inherited the Crown Estate. This isn’t his private property but rather held by the sovereign during his reign “in right of the crown.” The income generated by the estate goes to the British Treasury. In return, the government gives the monarch a percentage of this income, a payment known as the Sovereign Grant. The Sovereign Grant was £86.3 million (equivalent to $112 million) for 2022-23, but the amount can be reviewed and adjusted. For the 2024-25 fiscal year, the grant rate is set at 12 percent. This money is supposed to fund the royal family’s duties, such as travel and hosting official receptions.

As the monarch, Charles also receives income from the Duchy of Lancaster. This large estate—about 45,000 acres and worth approximately £641 million ($791 million) as of March 2023—passes from sovereign to sovereign. It’s held in trust, so there are limits on what Charles can sell. However, it generates millions in annual profits that go directly to the monarch; in 2023, Charles received about £26 million ($34 million). Charles voluntarily pays income tax, but corporate taxes aren’t levied on Duchy of Lancaster income.

The Duchy of Lancaster also collects money and possessions left behind by people who die without a will and with no known next of kin, as long as the person’s last known address was within the medieval boundaries of duke-controlled Lancashire. Although the duchy has stated these funds go to charity, some of this money has been used to renovate properties within the estate.

Charles’ real estate portfolio includes 56 holiday cottages, 12 homes, 10 castles, and seven palaces, according to Forbes. He directly owns two properties inherited from his mother: Balmoral Castle, worth about $100 million, and the Sandringham estate, worth approximately $315 million. Among the rest of his real estate holdings, some properties are part of the Crown Estate, the duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster, or owned by one of the king’s foundations. For example, one of his charitable organizations acquired two cottages in the Transylvania region of Romania. Other castles and palaces are held “in trust for the nation” but are controlled by the king until they pass to the next sovereign. Buckingham Palace, St. James’s Palace, Kensington Palace, and Windsor Castle fall into this category.

While he was Prince of Wales, the Duchy of Cornwall provided Charles with millions in annual income. The Duchy of Cornwall is now in the hands of his son William, the new Prince of Wales, but Charles’ years at the helm of the duchy, nearly three times the area of the Duchy of Lancaster and worth more than £1 billion, allowed him to build his personal fortune. In November 2017, a leak of 13.4 million electronic files known as the Paradise Papers revealed Charles was among many world figures and celebrities who possessed offshore investments, in his case, specifically, a Bermuda-run business. Reports indicate that in 2007 Charles had campaigned on amending climate change policy without disclosing that he would financially benefit from those amendments through the foreign investment the Duchy of Cornwall had made.

After the papers came out, Charles claimed he had no direct involvement in the offshore account. His spokesman also added that his foreign investments “do not derive any tax advantage whatsoever based on their location or any other aspect of their structure and there is no loss of revenue to HMRC as a result.”

Hobbies and Books

Charles was an avid polo player for years, calling the game “my one great extravagance.” He retired from polo in 2005. He is also a passionate watercolorist; his lasting friendship with Joan Rivers began on a painting vacation. Charles’ love of skiing once nearly cost him his life. In 1988, he was with a group of skiers who were caught in an avalanche in Switzerland. One of his friends was killed in the disaster.

Charles has published several books, including the 1980 children’s story The Old Man of Lochnagar, 2010’s Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World, and 2012’s The Prince’s Speech: On the Future of Food.

Health and Cancer Diagnosis

On February 5, 2024, Buckingham Palace announced Charles had been diagnosed with cancer while undergoing treatment for an enlarged prostate. The Palace didn’t specify the type of cancer but noted it’s not prostate cancer. U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that the disease was “caught early.”

Charles shared his diagnosis with his siblings and children. Despite their estrangement, Prince Harry flew to England for a brief visit with his father after receiving this news.

Charles has otherwise been reasonably healthy throughout his life. In 1990, he suffered two arm fractures, one of which required surgery, while playing polo. He had torn knee cartilage repaired in 1992, another polo injury. Falls while horseback riding resulted in a broken rib in 1998 and a broken shoulder bone in 2001. His past medical procedures include a hernia operation in 2003 and the removal of a noncancerous facial growth in 2008. He experienced mild symptoms during two bouts of COVID-19, in 2020 and 2022.


  • All the time I feel I must justify my existence.

  • I learned the way a monkey learns—by watching its parents.

  • If you want to develop character, go to Australia.

  • I don’t see why politicians and others should think they have the monopoly of wisdom.

  • Just as mankind had the power to push the world to the brink so, too, do we have the power to bring it back into balance.

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