Princess Anne has got down to business as usual after being informed of her brother Charles’ cancer diagnosis by handing out honours at Windsor Castle before travelling up to the Midlands in a busy day of royal engagements.
The princess, seen as a stalwart member of the royal family, was among those close relatives told personally by King Charles of his diagnosis, which he has known about since early last week.
She is one of a number of senior members of the family who are expected to increase the number of engagements they take on as the monarch steps back to focus on his health, on the instruction of doctors.
The Princess Royal is leading an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle, handing out honours to the likes of conductor Ivor Bolton, tenor Nicky Spence, rugby union referee Sara Cox and wheelchair rugby league player James Simpson. She is then scheduled to travel up to the Midlands for a royal visit later today.
In a statement last night Buckingham Palace said that during surgery for a benign enlarged prostate, doctors spotted a separate issue ‘of concern’ for the King, and that this has since been confirmed to be cancerous.
Ivor Bolton, from London, Conductor, is made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by the Princess Royal at Windsor Castle by Princess Anne
Princess Anne is to plough on with business as usual after being informed of her brother Charles’ cancer diagnosis (Pictured: The Princess Royal on a visit to Moray on February 1)
The King (pictured with Camilla after leaving The London Clinic on January 29) spent last night at home in London after beginning out-patient cancer treatment
It comes as the Princess of Wales, Kate Middleton, continues to recover from planned abdominal surgery while Sarah Ferguson also battles cancer for the second time, having recently been diagnosed with malignant melanoma.
Before the ceremony on Tuesday, Princess Anne put on a brave face as she attended the dedication of a new St John Ambulance Community unit in Devizes, Wiltshire.
She attended the ceremony the day King Charles brother went public with his cancer battle.
The support unit was purchased following a successful fundraising campaign that raised £65,000 in donations.
It is not unusual for the Princess Royal to take on significant royal duties such as investitures – she previously carried out such ceremonies on January 17, 24 and 31.
Prior to that, the King conducted two in December, with Prince William taking on the mantle on November 27.
The King spent last night at home in London after beginning out-patient cancer treatment – as family and friends revealed that the monarch remains ‘hugely positive’ following his bombshell diagnosis.
Earlier on Tuesday Princess Beatrice was seen leaving Clarence House, where Charles is currently believed to be staying, with her husband following the news.
It was reported this morning the monarch could be away from public-facing duties until at least March as he undergoes regular treatment.
Buckingham Palace said in a statement last night: ‘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.
‘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.
‘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.
‘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.’
Charles had been admitted to hospital for surgery on January 26 for treatment on a benign enlarged prostate. He remained at The London Clinic for three nights before being discharged and returning home.
The hardy royal is one of those expected to take on royal engagements in her brother’s absence
Rugby union referee Sara Cox is awarded an MBE by Princess Anne on Tuesday morning
Princess Anne got straight back to business on Tuesday morning despite her family’s health concerns
Anne bestows an honour upon operatic tenor Nicholas (Nicky) Spence on Tuesday
The King, pictured in France last September, will continue working behind the scenes on red boxes and constitutional duties, but public duties have been paused and will be shared amongst his family
Buckingham Palace said in a statement: ‘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’
Princess Anne has been a stalwart at King Charles’ side since the death of their mother, Queen Elizabeth II (Pictured during a trip to Moray on February 1)
The Princess Royal is pictured endowing an honour on Davina McCall at the most recent investiture on January 31
The 75-year-old monarch left the London Clinic last Monday with Queen Camilla by his side
Princess Beatrice and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi are seen leaving Clarence House on Tuesday morning
The Prince of Wales, the Queen and other working royals are all to step up their royal duties while the King undergoes treatment as an outpatient.
Buckingham Palace has confirmed a number of the King’s forthcoming public engagements will have to be rearranged or postponed, but it is not anticipated that Counsellors of State will need to be appointed.
In the event a monarch cannot undertake their duties as sovereign on a temporary basis due to illness, two or more Counsellors of State can be appointed by Letters Patent to act in their place.
It is hoped the King will continue with some of his duties, but how much he can do will depend on the progress of his treatment and the orders of his doctors.
Other members of the royal family are expected to continue with a full programme of public engagements and may undertake some additional duties on behalf the King if they are required to do so.
Usually the duty would fall to William in the first instance, who has recently returned to royal duties after the Princess of Wales underwent major abdominal surgery last month.
The monarch, 75, received treatment for an enlarged prostate last week, spending three nights at the London Clinic private hospital (Pictured attending church in Sandringham on Sunday)
The Royal Family has been rocked by a series of health scares in the last few weeks, with the Duchess of York recently announcing she has skin cancer
Kate Middleton is recovering at home from abdominal surgery following a two-week stay at private hospital The London Clinic
William had taken time off to support his family as Kate recovered first in hospital, then returned home to Windsor to convalesce.
He will host an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle on Wednesday and that evening will attend the London Air Ambulance annual fundraising gala in central London, Kensington Palace said.
Camilla will also continue with a full programme of public duties while her husband is treated, the Palace said.
Provisions for Counsellors of State are made under the Regency Acts 1937 to 1953 and those who can currently stand in for Charles include Queen Camilla and the four most senior adults in the line of succession over the age of 21 – the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Sussex, the Duke of York and Princess Beatrice.
In 2022, the King asked Parliament to add his youngest brother the Duke of Edinburgh and sister the Princess Royal as extra Counsellors of State so they can deputise for him if need be, and the addition was fast-tracked into law.
The legislation did add Anne and Edward to the list, but stopped short of removing Andrew and Harry. However, the House of Lords heard only ‘working members’ of the royal family would be called upon to act as Counsellors of State.
The Duke of Sussex is flying to London to be with his father after the King’s shock cancer diagnosis after clearing his diary. He could arrive in the UK as early as lunchtime today.
Charles is positive about his treatment and hopes to returning to full public duty as soon as possible, the Palace said.
William is likely to be undertaking some duties on his father’s behalf, it is understood, but Counsellors of State, who are appointed when a monarch cannot fulfil their duties as head of state, are not expected to be needed.
The King will still be dealing with his red boxes of state business and official papers, and holding Privy Council meetings, which can be held via video, and weekly audiences with the Prime Minister, which can take place over the phone.
Charles personally called both Harry and William, as well as his siblings the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Duke of Edinburgh, to give them the news before it was publicly announced.
The Palace has called for the King’s privacy to be respected, especially during his treatment, but said he wanted to make his diagnosis public because of his long-running support for cancer charities.
This is the latest major royal health scare to hit the monarchy at the start of 2024, coming after the King’s hospital stay, Kate’s major surgery, keeping her away from official duties until after Easter, and Sarah, Duchess of York’s skin cancer diagnosis.