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King Charles Diagnosed With Cancer; Historic Storm Soaks California. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired February 05, 2024 - 13:00   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: A historic storm soaking California, Los Angeles seeing its wettest day in two decades. Fourteen million people are now under a rare high risk for excessive rainfall for the second day in a row. The chances of that happening were one in 1,000. We have the latest on the ground there.

Plus, a long-awaited Senate border deal being made public, but the speaker of the House says it is dead on arrival. It won't even get a vote, while he moves ahead with his own plan.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: And a surprising announcement and even more shocking arrest all in the middle of a historic storm. The 2024 Grammys did not lack for drama.

We are following all of these major developing stories, as well as many more, all coming in right here to CNN NEWS CENTRAL.

SANCHEZ: Right now, millions of people are under threat of floods, landslides and power outages as Southern California gets hit with six months' worth of rain in a matter of days.

Dramatic water rescues have played out across the region, made more challenging by roadways that have become impassable. Sunday marked the wettest day Los Angeles has seen in nearly 20 years. More than a third of California's entire population is now under a rare high risk of excessive rainfall. More than half-a-million customers don't have power and some areas even saw hurricane-force winds.

We have reporters on the ground across the state.

Let's start with David Culver, who's in Hollywood Hills for us.

David, what are you seeing there?


Well, the rain has been incessant, and it's picking up yet again. I want to show you just what's behind me here. And that is the cinder blocks that make up a wall. It is a home foundation. And then just look above that and you see what's basically like a ski slope caked in mud. That is the mud slide that came down around 2:00 in the morning. We're

going to follow it down here. You can see the foundation of the home. So the home, where is it? Out in the middle of the street here. It's been swept away. And you can see behind me this is all pretty thick mud as we're stepping around. This is a car that's been buried.

We're told by one neighbor there were about five cars that were swept away, four homes damaged altogether. But these are some of the personal artifacts left behind here. You can see some of the lawn furniture that's been pushed aside.

Fortunately, no one was inside this home at the time. We're told it was unoccupied. And the neighbors, though, were home, did experience the damage firsthand. And they're now trying to deal with this cleanup. I'm just showing you a little bit towards the street here. I won't push too close because I don't want to go off this hill.

But it's a rushing almost river on this street. That's what it's becoming. And the debris has flown really from this hill down, and it's now going down the stream. You can see even -- Christie (ph), do you see the piano there? That's a grand piano just behind that local news photographer there, a grand piano that came out of this home.

So what are we seeing around this area? This is obviously one of the worst-hit portions because of this storm. But let me show you some of the driving that we did to get to this portion of the Hollywood Hills and roads that are sometimes two, four lanes now down to one.

And that's because, along the sides, you see a lot of the rocks that have come down. You see basically rivers running on each side, the current so strong that folks are having to figure out how to direct their own traffic, because, at this point, it's happened so suddenly that you don't have a lot of first responders out here trying to direct traffic because they're being called elsewhere.

And it's really just too difficult to get to these positions at this point. But this is the concern that's going to last for several more hours now, Boris. You have got this mudslide and landslide concern and the flash flood warning that's going to continue here up until about 3:00 local as of now.

But neighbors tell us, because of the rain that they have experienced over the past few weeks, they're worried that this ground is so soiled right now that the wetness is potentially going to cause even more of these mudslides and landslides to cause damage like you see behind me.

SANCHEZ: David Culver live for us in Southern California.

We actually want to turn now to Alex.

MARQUARDT: We have breaking news out of the United Kingdom from Buckingham Palace.

We are hearing news involving the royal family. King Charles III has been diagnosed with a form of cancer.


Let's get straight to CNN's Max Foster.

So, Max, what are you learning?

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it follows off the back of the king's local treatment that he had at hospital for an enlarged prostate.

A separate issue concerned was noted there, according to Buckingham Palace. And subsequent tests have identified a form of cancer. So we're being told that the king has commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which he's been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties.

So we won't be seeing him. Throughout this period, His Majesty will continue to undertake state business and official paperwork as usual. So he remains head of state and will be able to carry out those king duties, but we won't be seeing him in public.

I'm told the king is grateful to his medical team and the recent hospital procedure which made this diagnosis possible. And he remains positive, we're told, about his treatments and looks forward to returning to public duties.

He's chosen to share this diagnosis to prevent speculation and in the hope that it may assist public understanding for those around the world who are affected by cancer. Additionally, a source telling me they won't be sharing any more exact details at this stage, but they do want to note that it's not prostate cancer, as some people (AUDIO GAP)...


FOSTER: And the king's also returned to London. He was at Sandringham, his country of state.

MARQUARDT: Max, it was rather notable that, when the king went into the hospital to -- for this enlarged prostate, that he did make that known.

There was a certain understanding that the British public deserved a level of transparency. And we should underline here that, according to Buckingham Palace, when King Charles went into the hospital, it was for, they say, a benign prostate enlargement.

But this cancer diagnosis is a separate issue, according to the palace. Talk to us about why the king has felt this need to be transparent with the British public.

FOSTER: Well, I think there are two separate issues you can look at here.

So he didn't necessarily have to announce that he was going in for a test for a benign enlarged prostate, because it wouldn't affect his public work. And they do feel that the royal family has a right to privacy, particularly when it comes to medical privacy. So that was very much announced because he wanted to raise awareness of the issue.

And it had a huge impact, because there are a lot more inquiries to hospitals about prostate concerns. This, they did have to announce, because it is the head of state with a serious medical issue, which cancer is regarded as, of course. So it does affect how he may carry out his public work, which is why they're also emphasizing he is able to do his key constitutional duties, which are those of head of state, signing in new laws, opening Parliament.

He will be able to -- the mechanics of the constitutional monarchy continue. So there won't be a threat to the public, but he won't be carrying out his other public duties, and where he's seen as a figurehead, as it were.

It is interesting, I have to say, Alex, but, today, we had a note from Kensington Palace, which represents Prince William, saying that he would be resuming his public duties. He's been off work looking after his wife, who had an operation recently.

And I think that the messaging there is that the Constitution does continue. Prince William will be stepping in for King Charles in his absence.

MARQUARDT: And, Max, this has been a rather remarkable period for the royal family in terms of health issues that they have decided to communicate to the public.

He was in the hospital at the same time as his daughter-in-law, the princess of Wales, and she has just left the hospital.

FOSTER: She has. And that had to be announced as well because it was an operation. So the public had a right to know that.

She has left hospital. She's now recuperating at home. A huge amount of pressure on Prince William at this point, because he's there to support her and his children, but now he also has to step up as the next in line to the throne. So he will have to be expected to represent the king now, although it has to be emphasized this isn't a regency.

A regency would be when the monarch was incapacitated and would have to hand over official duties of state to Prince William. That isn't the case. This is just everything outside of that. So, Prince William very much becomes the figurehead, the public figurehead now of the monarchy, whilst the king is out of action publicly, but carrying out his work behind the scenes.


Also, Queen Camilla would be expected to step up as well to show continuity, because monarchy is about continuity of the head of state of the monarchy. So people need to represent that in the absence of the king's presence.

So it will be very alarming to people in the United Kingdom, but they have sent out very carefully written notes and going to get more information as well to reassure the public that the monarchy is still intact and the Constitution continues, but a huge amount of concern will be raised about what it means, particularly when we have such a slimmed-down monarchy anyway.

And now we also have two senior -- now three senior -- three of the four senior royals -- well, two of the senior royals out of public sight, and two having to pick up all of the public-facing duties.

MARQUARDT: We have been watch -- seeing some video of the king leaving the hospital. Again, that was on January 29.

He only became king last year, of course, Max, and he has been rather active. So how much will the British public notice as he scales back his duties? How much has he actually been undertaking these various royal engagements?

FOSTER: Well, he's extremely busy, takes his work extremely seriously, and he is absolutely dedicated to his work. I can say that, as an impartial journalist, because I follow him.

And when you compare him to other royals, he's doing so much behind the scenes, but we also see him very much in public. So, this -- as you point out, in his early monarchy, more important than ever that he's seen out in public, establishing himself as head of state, and replacing Queen Elizabeth, who was iconic in her role, and they are very big shoes to step into.

So, this is significant to his monarchy. He won't be able to represent the monarchy in the way he had hoped,and, as I say, huge amount of responsibility now for Prince William to step up and really show that the monarchy is still strong.

We did see King Charles at the weekend, and he looked really healthy. It was just a still photograph of him, and that was sanctioned, I think, by the palace. So, I think, at the weekend, they felt very confident, and he looked very confident when he left the hospital.

So, I think this would be a real shock to the family and to the palace, and there will be a lot of work behind the scenes to try to make sure the mechanics of the system continue, and that the king is still able to carry out that really crucial official paperwork, because, without the king being able to sign documents, the Constitution literally grinds to a halt.

You can't bring in new laws. You can't appoint prime ministers. You can't get involved when the rare serious matters of the state. So, it is crucial. And they will, frankly, have to be considering, what does happen if the king gets more ill and isn't able to carry out even the essential duties?

So, that would be where the regency would come into effect. And as an insurance policy, they will be considering that at this point, but that's a very well-rehearsed, regularly rehearsed practice anyway. So, I think that's just a matter of ticking a few books and expecting Prince William to very much step up. MARQUARDT: And we are looking at live pictures outside Buckingham

Palace. It is just past 6:00 p.m. in London right now, with the news from that palace that the king of England, the king of the United Kingdom, King Charles III, has been diagnosed with some kind of cancer.

They are not saying what kind. He has just left the hospital several days ago after being treated for what they're calling a benign prostate enlargement, during which time they noticed a separate issue of concern.

Max Foster, I'm going to ask you to stand by. We will get back to you when there's more news.

In the meantime, I'm going to toss it over to Boris.

SANCHEZ: We're joined now to discuss with CNN royal historian Kate Williams.

Kate, I quickly want to get just your reaction to this news, a cancer diagnosis for King Charles.

KATE WILLIAMS, CNN ROYAL HISTORIAN: Well, obviously, it is very worrying.

Cancer, many of -- more than two of us do suffer from cancer in the world, but it is a worrying and scary diagnosis to receive. And I'm sure a lot of people are wishing the king, thinking of the king's health at the moment.

But this is -- really, we're seeing a very different way of dealing with health to what we saw under the queen. We were told that the queen was having a few tests, going into hospital. In the case of Charles, we have been told he was going in for an enlarged prostate, minor surgery.

And now we have been told that he did -- why he did stay in one extra night and that he is going to be going for cancer treatment, but that he will be carrying on with his duties. I think we see a very different monarchy here. The queen came to the throne when she was just a young woman, when she was 25. He comes to the throne when he's nearly 75.


And he's just saying here, I think, very clearly, yes, I'm having health issues, yes, I'm having very common health issues, but there's no need to panic. There's no need to worry. I'm going to continue with my duties online and in a constitutional way.

So, really, we have a lot of transparency about the king's health here. And I think the reason for that is to stop people from panicking that perhaps he's iller than we realize.

SANCHEZ: To that point, Kate, I believe it was King George that passed away after complications from a surgery to relieve cancer, and the British public wasn't aware that he was having that issue, right?

WILLIAMS: Yes, King George VI, the queen's father, he had lung cancer. He was a lifelong smoker. And it did affect him. He died very young, in his 50s, and no one knew.

And, in fact, even the queen herself was not aware of how ill the king was. That's why she went on a tour to Africa. That's why she was in Kenya when she became queen. No one knew. He passed away without anyone realizing it. He had the surgery actually at Buckingham Palace. They set up an operating theater in Buckingham Palace.

It was so secret. And we see a completely different way of dealing with health with the royals. We were told that Kate was going into hospital, she would be there for some time, and that the king would be going to the same hospital. We were told when he was staying one more night.

I think he said very clearly that he wanted other men to raise awareness of prostate cancer, but wants to -- not that he has a -- he wants to raise awareness of enlarged prostates and that condition. And now I think that -- although he's not saying now, we probably will be told at some point what kind of cancer the king is suffering from, and I think for the same reason.

He will want other people to get checked, people to talk about it, to raise awareness, because that (AUDIO GAP) important.

SANCHEZ: That effort to raise awareness was successful. There were details from the NHS that they received 11 times more visits after Buckingham Palace announced that he was receiving treatment for an enlarged prostate.

Let's get some medical perspective now.

With us is CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner.

Dr. Reiner, so this news coming after the king went through this procedure to examine his enlarged prostate. This apparently raised a separate issue of concern, a form of cancer. The palace says that he remains wholly positive about his treatment. What do you make of that?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, Boris, it seems like, in the course of his treatment for his procedure, surgical procedure for his prostate cancer, they discovered another problem.

And when you're admitted to the hospital, you often get tests like a chest X-ray. So a chest X-ray might have found a lesion in his lungs. You have basic blood -- preoperative bloods obtained, so that might show that he's anemic and that might have led to a further workup.

But it sounds like, in the course of the routine evaluation prior to his prostate surgery, they discovered that something else was amiss.

SANCHEZ: So, just to be clear, the prostate enlargement was found to have been benign, so it does not appear that he has prostate cancer.

Walk us through the spectrum, Doctor, of potential treatments for someone.


SANCHEZ: Because, obviously, there are many different forms of cancer that affect people in a variety of different ways.

What could we be seeing the king undergo here?

REINER: Well, obviously, there are 1,000 possibilities based on the specific type of cancer.

But, again, I would -- if I had to surmise, I would guess that this is -- this would be something that would have been found on routine diagnostic screening that is done when a patient comes in for a surgical procedure. And that raises the question of whether they found something on a chest X-ray, or whether he was unusually anemic, or his white blood cell count was elevated, suggesting a problem that could be linked to something like leukemia.

The issue I have with these kinds of incremental announcements from high-profile people or the palace is that I can surmise and the public can guess much worse things often than are really true. And then the best policy for a leader of a country or royalty is just to tell the public straight out what's going on, so that people don't have to guess, people don't have to think about the worst.

And the public in Great Britain really does have a right to know what's going on with their monarch.


SANCHEZ: Dr. Jonathan Reiner, please stand by.

We're, of course, going to be tracking the very latest news out of the U.K., Buckingham Palace announcing that King Charles III has been diagnosed with cancer. We're going to get the very latest on this story and continue bringing you the latest news from the U.K. when we come back.


MARQUARDT: We are back with breaking news out of Buckingham Palace involving the British royal family.

King Charles III has been diagnosed, they say, with a form of cancer. They don't say which kind of cancer, but just that it is a form of cancer.

SANCHEZ: This, of course, coming after a recent hospital stay, procedure for benign prostate enlargement. A separate issue of concern was discovered.

And we are getting reaction from leaders across the United Kingdom, including the British prime minister, Rishi Sunak, posting to social media -- quote -- "Wishing His Majesty a full and speedy recovery. I have no doubt he will be back to full strength in no time. and I know the whole country will be wishing him well."


We also have a reaction from the leader of the opposition Labor Party, Keir Starmer, posting to X -- quote -- "On behalf of the Labor Party, I wish His Majesty all the very best for his recovery. We look forward to seeing him back to swift, full health."

Obviously, with an ambiguous announcement in terms of the kind of cancer -- we were just talking to Dr. Jonathan Reiner -- it leaves a lot of questions as to what the treatment is going to look like and whether he will be able to really operate in his full capacity, even given the way that they have shared that his diagnosis is going to alter his duties.

MARQUARDT: Yes, this statement from Buckingham Palace says that he has been advised by doctors to scale back those public-facing duties, but making clear that he will continue -- quote -- "to undertake state business and official paperwork as usual."

What's interesting here, Boris, is that they do seem to be walking a line of transparency without revealing all of the details that they know. We have had a -- we have just seen King Charles come out of the hospital after a stay there for that prostate enlargement issue that he had, and that was a remarkable moment of transparency with the British public, that he told them when he was going to the hospital and why.

I want to bring in our experts, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, as well as our royal correspondent, Max Foster, and our CNN royal historian, Kate Williams.

Max, to you first. On this attempt by the palace to both be transparent, but also keep some of the details private, I'm looking at the last line of this statement from Buckingham Palace. "His Majesty has chosen to share his diagnosis to prevent speculation."

But won't this only fuel speculation? Because they are not being completely transparent about the kind of cancer that he has?

FOSTER: Well, there's a long history of this. We still don't know why Queen Elizabeth died, for example.

There's a line that they draw. I think that they see it as a -- what matters here is, is the monarch well enough to carry out his duties? We're going to keep you updated on that. But there is a level of privacy that any human deserves. And that is decided by the palace and by the king.

So there may come a point when they do need to tell us more. But I think, probably, the only updates we will get is on progress, though, to reassure the public that he's getting better or to reassure them that there are systems in place to support the monarchy if he gets worse.

And that, of course, is bringing in -- and Kate will tell you a bit more about this as an expert on the history. But there are there are accounts of the state that step up and take over the king's duties, if that's necessary. If, for example, he has to go into an operation, he's incapacitated, there has to be a system in place for the matters of state to be carried out.

So, you will have the queen and Prince William and Kate and also Edward stepping in and Anne stepping in to carry out those official duties on his behalf. But, really, it's down to Prince William, who will be taking the lead if that does happen.

So I think they're much more focused on that than revealing the exact details. And it could be that they don't want to -- it could be something that people associate as a very serious, degrading illness, and they might have it in check, and they don't want to worry the public that things are going to get much worse much more quickly than they actually are.

So they will be taking a lot of advice from the king's doctors and the consultants as well.

SANCHEZ: Dr. Reiner, I'm wondering what you make of this line in the announcement from Buckingham Palace, that King Charles has been advised by his doctors to postpone public-facing duties, but yet that he's going to continue to undertake state business and official paperwork as usual.

Does that tell you anything?

REINER: Well, basically, it says that they don't want him to travel or to engage in sort of vigorous schedules, but he can basically work from home.

And if we go back and look at the timeline following the king's recent hospitalization for his prostate cancer, remember that he was kept for an unannounced third day. So, they kept him for an extra day, which leads me to wonder whether that extra day was to work up this diagnosis, and also makes me wonder when this diagnosis was made.

And, very likely, it was made during that initial hospitalization the week before last.

MARQUARDT: Kate Williams, how does it work when a regent, when the monarch is incapacitated? Surely, there are instances in the past when surgery is performed or they are out of commission in a variety of ways.

The -- we should note that the statement here from Buckingham Palace.