Queen Camilla & Prince William Among 7 Royals King Charles Could Appoint As Deputies While He Battles Cancer

Feb 06, 2024 by apost team

The last few years have been momentous for the British monarchy, culminating in the tragic passing of Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, on Sept. 8, 2022, at Balmoral. It was a devastating day for the royal family as many members gathered to be by her side in her final moments. 

That same day, Elizabeth’s eldest son, King Charles III, ascended the throne. Just one day later, he addressed the United Kingdom as its new monarch. And less than two years since, the royal family was again hit with tragic news when Buckingham Palace revealed Charles had been diagnosed with cancer on Feb. 5, 2024.

Born on Nov. 14, 1948, when Elizabeth was still a princess, Charles broke with tradition several times in his youth, attending school instead of being privately tutored, as was the norm for the royal family at the time. He also became the first royal to earn a university degree at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he studied archaeology and anthropology. He later joined the Royal Air Force after becoming the Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester in July 1958.  

Charles’ personal life has been a hot topic for decades, particularly since his marriage to Princess Diana and subsequent divorce. However, Charles has worked hard to put his name in good light, lending his support to several non-profit organizations. Charles is also interested in topics such as the environment, global sustainability, youth opportunities and education.

His efforts culminated in the tide of public favor turning his way in the years since he became king, leading to an outpouring of shock and devastation when news of his ill health became public. Read on to find out more about his health troubles and which member of the royal family could stand in for Charles in this difficult time.

King Charles III (2022), (John Phillips/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images)

Early 2024 saw King Charles III facing some serious health issues. Buckingham Palace first announced on Jan. 17, 2024, that the monarch was set to undergo treatment the following week in the hospital for an enlarged prostate. The next day, his wife, Queen Camilla, revealed Charles was feeling “fine” and “looking forward to getting back to work.” 

On Jan. 26, 2024, Charles was admitted to London Clinic, where he underwent the treatment. He stayed for three nights before being discharged. However, the palace announced that all his prior engagements would be postponed to allow him sufficient time to rest and recuperate. In the following days, Camilla again stated that Charles was “doing his best” since the treatment before the pair made their first public appearance together on Feb. 4, 2024, at Sandringham Church. There, Charles gave the crowd a reassuring wave, raising the people’s spirits. However, the consolation would be short-lived as the next day, Buckingham Palace released devastating news.

It revealed that, during Charles’ prostate treatment, “diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer,” while stressing it was not prostate cancer. It said the king had “commenced a schedule of regular treatments” while his public-facing duties were postponed on the advice of his doctors. However, the 75-year-old monarch would “continue to undertake State business and official paperwork as usual,” it added.

But even as the palace stated that Charles remained “wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible,” speculation about who could stand in for the King should he be unable to fulfill his duties had already begun. It was widely reported that Charles could choose deputies from a possible total of seven royals should his ill health force him to.


Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William (2006), (Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images)

Under a constitutional mechanism, should the king be unable to carry out his official duties as sovereign on “a temporary basis due to illness or absence abroad,” two or more Counsellors of State – comprising the monarch’s spouse and the next four people in the line of succession – can act in His Majesty's place. 

In Charles’ case, this would then include his wife, Queen Camilla, his sons Prince William and Prince Harry, his brother Prince Andrew, and his niece, Princess Beatrice. However, both Prince Harry – who left England to settle with his wife, Meghan Markle, in the United States – and Prince Andrew – who was linked to the notorious sex offender Jeffrey Epstein – are not considered working royals. Speculation has also roped in the next two senior royal family members as potential candidates to act in Charles’ stead. They are his siblings, Princess Royal Anne and Prince Edward

While the Counsellors of State can undertake certain duties, such as attending Privy Council meetings, signing routine documents and receiving the credentials of new ambassadors, they are barred from fulfilling key tasks of the monarch, such as those concerning Commonwealth matters, the dissolving of Parliament (except on the King’s express instruction), the creation of peers or the appointment of a prime minister.

However, even as the speculation continued, Charles remained in good spirits in the early days of his diagnosis. He unexpectedly kept the public in the loop of his health troubles, behavior that seems in keeping with his reputation for being a down-to-earth monarch. This was also evident in the Palace’s statement in which Charles’ reasons for doing so were presented. It read:

“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.”

King Charles III, Queen Camilla (2024), (Chris Jackson/Chris Jackson Collection via Getty Images)

Did news of King Charles III’s health troubles come as a terrible shock to you? Who do you feel is the best candidate to stand in for Charles during this difficult time? Let us know, then pass this on to family and friends to find out their views on the matter, too.

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