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King Charles III Diagnosed With Cancer; Powerful Storm Wreaks Havoc Across California. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired February 05, 2024 - 14:00   ET




BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Boris Sanchez alongside Alex Marquardt here in the nation's capital. We are following some breaking news this afternoon.

Buckingham Palace says that King Charles III has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. We want to get straight to CNN's Max Foster, who's live for us in London.

Max, what are you learning?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm trying -- I'm getting a few more details in terms of, you know, emphasizing that it's not prostate cancer. Is it related in any way? I've been sort of questioning that.

The second condition will receive appropriate treatment, we're told. They're not sharing specific details at this stage, but he is receiving expert care. And he will return to full public duties when he can. He's returned to London. He's been advised by his doctors not to appear in public. He's receiving outpatient care. So we're assuming from that he's not actually within a hospital.

We know that Prince Harry has been speaking to his father and is traveling to the United Kingdom and that Prince William is in regular contact with the king.

But the crucial thing they're emphasizing is that they -- that the king will continue with his top-level constitutional duties, signing laws, appointing ministers, making sure the mechanics of government can continue.

So there's no threat to that. But in terms of the public facing nature of the monarchy, it will no longer be represented by the king, at least for now. It will be expected that the queen would continue representing the monarchy.

And we also know that Prince William is back to work. We weren't expecting to be back to work as quickly. He was used to be looking after his wife who's had an operation, but he will now be expected to step up and appear in public to represent that continuity, which the British monarchy is really all about.

But there is inevitably going to be lots of speculation. The palace just trying to be as transparent, they say, as possible, but without giving that detailed private medical information, which they feel the king has a right to like any other figure.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: Yes. They said that they put out this note today, this statement rather, to prevent speculation. Max Foster, stay with us.

I want to bring in oncologist Dr. Zeke Emanuel. Dr. Emanuel, thank you for being with us today. We're getting some details, but not a lot from Buckingham Palace. He, of course, King Charles just left the hospital after being treated for benign prostate enlargement.

You heard Max Foster there reporting that the cancer that King Charles has is not prostate cancer. The doctors are going to be treating him, but not in -- not in -- not in the hospital. He's receiving outpatient care. So, what do you glean from what little we know right now?

ZEKE EMANUEL, ONCOLOGIST: Well, first of all, we should recognize and give our sympathy to King Charles and his family. Anytime you get a diagnosis of cancer, even if it's a relatively benign cancer. It's a shock to the system and it forces people to reevaluate their entire lives.

And it takes a lot of adjustment. And so I want to express my sympathy for the family and hope that they can accommodate this.

The fact that it's being outpatient and that it was diagnosed in the course of treating the benign prostate enlargement, it could be anything from a blood test that revealed that he might have a blood- related cancer, and those can be relatively benign.

You can live decades with them, or very, very aggressive. This obviously isn't that kind because he wouldn't be treated as an outpatient.


And it could be anatomical. If he's being treated as an outpatient, it's unlikely to be, say, rectal cancer or something like that.

But, you know, this is all speculation at the moment. And I suspect it's going to be not too invasive, but it is going to be sufficiently invasive that he might lose his hair or might have other problems that may be noisy, and vomiting that will make having public appearances problematic. That's what it's suggesting.

SANCHEZ: Doctor, I'm curious about how his family history of dealing with cancer might be related or might have an impact to this diagnosis. Obviously, Queen Elizabeth, his mother dealt with cancer. King George also dealt with cancer, his grandfather.

What do you make of that? EMANUEL: People grow old. Twenty-one, 22 percent of deaths are cancer- related in developed countries. As you grow old, cancer just becomes a lot more common to have. His family does have some fair skin in melanoma as -- not just Ferguson. She's obviously not related to him.

But, you know, there are a large number of the -- number of the population in any developed countries have cancer. It's not a surprise, frankly, that people do develop cancer. And, you know, we in the United States, Jimmy Carter, is a very good example. Ronald Reagan. These are, you know, common -- relatively common occurrences.

MARQUARDT: And, Doctor, what would you like to hear in terms of communicating to the public beyond the diagnosis, perhaps, about the treatment, in terms of informing and using this as a moment, a teachable moment for the public? What more would you like to hear?

EMANUEL: That is an excellent question. Now, if this is the kind of diagnosis that could be screen for, like melanoma, by an examination of the skin, by the patient, or their doctor, that would be a very helpful, teachable moment.

If this is, you know, who knows, but I doubt it is colon cancer, but if it's colon cancer, that, again, is something that we can screen for. He -- Prince -- King Charles is just at the cusp of the age. Seventy-five is when we stop screening for colorectal cancer, because it tends to be relatively slow growing and the longevity outlast the cancer.

So the public, you know, might -- it might be helpful to know that you can screen for whatever cancer he has.

The other thing that's important, again, we don't know the cancer and we don't know the treatment, but treatment for cancer has come a long way in the 30 years since I was in training to become an oncologist. We have huge advances in the kinds of treatment. They're not nearly, in many cases, as toxic as they once were.

We just had a recent report, for example, not in King Charles' case, but in breast cancer where half the advance in the decrease in mortality is because of better treatments. So people should not necessarily, and obviously we're going to have to learn more about King Charles' cancer, not necessarily look at it as the death sentence it once was. And that could be a very, very helpful teachable moment for the public at large.

SANCHEZ: Dr. Emanuel, please stand by. We also have with us royal watchers, Kristen Meinzer and Emily Nash.

And, Kristen, we just had a graphic showing the timeline of these developments in King Charles' health. And if you look at it, it spans about three weeks between announcing his plan to undergo treatment for that enlarged prostate, which was discovered to be benign.

And now, when he's announcing that he has this form of cancer and that he's begun outpatient treatment, what do you make of this timeline? KRISTEN MEINZER, ROYAL WATCHER: You know, it really speaks to the fact that he has access to the best medical care, that he's taking the diagnosis seriously, that his medical team is looking out for him.

And I wish we lived in a world where we were also fortunate, where going in for something more routine could really uncover something immediately and then, you know, within days of that being uncovered that we could also get outpatient treatment, the way King Charles is.

I am really, really happy on his behalf. And I hope that we can someday live in a world where we all have that, but it really does speak to that access that he has. And people are looking out for him. He has a team looking out for him.


Emily Nash, what can we expect to see going forward? Obviously, the king is extremely active. I imagine others will step in for him. And then there's the question of counselors of state, which our Max Foster reported won't necessarily -- this is not something that will happen right now because he will continue with some of his activities behind the scenes.

But given what we know from the Buckingham Palace statement, what do you think we can expect to see from the royal family in the coming days?

I think we might have lost Emily's audio there.

Kristen, can I put that question to you? What do you think we're going to be seeing from Prince Charles, Queen Camilla, others, other senior members of the family who are working royals? Will they be taking up the king's duties at this point?

MEINZER: Yes. Well, first of all, a reminder that we are dealing with a very slimmed down set of senior royals at this point, a very slimmed down monarchy. Whereas a couple of years ago, we had, you know, Harry, Megan, Andrew, the queen. Half those people, we don't have them anymore. And also we have Kate, who is out of commission right now, as she recovers from her own planned abdominal surgery that she recently had.

And so we have far few people to -- far fewer people to call on at this point. But there is Queen Camilla. And it has been announced that William, contrary to what the original plan was, where he was going to take quite a bit of time off, he is going to be returning to duties later this week.

And so between Camilla and William, they will be covering a lot of the engagements. And then also the palace has made it clear, Charles, he is not going to be permanently out of commission. They're treating this like he's going to be taking a break from some of his duties.

And so the messaging around it is really nobody freak out. He is not completely retiring. He is not leaving his duties. He's not, you know, stepping away fully. He's taking a break from some of his duties. And so being who he is, being as active as he is, I think he'll be back out there relatively soon.

And the oncologist you were talking with earlier said that considering this is an outpatient treatment that Charles is receiving, it's safe to assume that this is not the most severe version of cancer that we're dealing with here.

MARQUARDT: We're also getting word from the British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, to what extent this actually is an official medical diagnosis. I think it remains to be seen. But the Prime Minister is saying, I have no doubt that King Charles will be back to full strength in no time. And I know the whole country will be wishing him well.

He wishes his Majesty a full and speedy recovery. I'm going to ask you all to stay with us. We will have much more on our breaking news just ahead. King Charles III, diagnosed with a form of cancer. Stay with us. We'll be right back.



SANCHEZ: Welcome back to NEWS CENTRAL. Major breaking news out of the United Kingdom this afternoon. Buckingham Palace says that King Charles III has been diagnosed with a form of cancer. We want to take you straight to London and CNN's Max Foster.

Max, you've been speaking to sources non-stop since this news broke. What's the latest you're hearing?

FOSTER: All I can tell you that he's at home in London which would be Clarence House just up the road as opposed to Buckingham Palace, because he never really moved out from there after being Prince of Wales.

I can also tell you that he hasn't appointed counsellors of estate. You were talking about that earlier. It doesn't intend to appoint counsellors of estate. These are members of the family. You can step in to carry out his duties if he were somehow unable to.

So those sorts of situations would be if he was under anesthetic or became incapacitated. So he doesn't see that happening at that point -- at this point. So that maybe suggests something that doctors can understand from the sort of cancer and sort of treatment that he's receiving.

He's obviously not in hospital. He's being treated as an outpatient. He has been in contact with his siblings and also his two children. We know that Prince Harry is going to be flying over in a few days' time.

I also understand that the Queen and Prince William will both be expected to step up their public duties in the King's absence on the public stage to represent that continuity and to show that the monarchy is still strong.

He will still be receiving red boxes which are the documents that he receives from government, keeping him up to date on government business and he will also be able to carry out privacy -- Privy Council meetings, for example. They're the key government advisors to the King.

So he is able to carry out the top-level duties of being monarch, but we won't be seeing him in public. So now it's a case of really managing public expectation, public speculation without going into too much medical privacy. So big challenge for the palace behind me right now also for the Prince of Wales and the Queen. But I think we'll see more of Prince Edward as well and Princess Anne who also are working royals.

Remember here that the group of working roles is reduced drastically. The Queen died obviously. Prince Harry and Meghan left their roles. Prince Andrew was forced out of his role. And we've also got the Princess of Wales recuperating from an operation as well.

So very much slimmed down, lot more pressure on the current working what royals so really, you know, give that perception that the monarchy is still strong and the King's still able to carry out his duties.

MARQUARDT: All right. Max Foster, Buckingham Palace, stay with us. I want to bring in Julie Montagu, the Viscountess Hinchingbrooke and a former BBC royal wedding commentator.

Thank you so much for joining us. On that point that Max was just making, how do you think the palace and King Charles are going to manage the communication with the British public? Clearly, there is an awareness that there is a need for transparency. We've seen that in the past few weeks as he went into hospital for an enlarged prostate. But seeing now the lack of information about what kind of cancer this is.


All right. Max, we're going to go back to you. We've just lost the Viscountess.

But, Max Foster, this is a notable statement from Buckingham Palace that is walking a very careful line of providing information without providing too much information.

As his surrogates, if you will, Prince William, Queen Camilla, as they go out into public and walk along those rope lines, they are going to get peppered with questions about the health of the King. Millions of Britons are going to want to know how their monarch is doing.

How do you expect Buckingham Palace to address these questions?

FOSTER: We had a bit of a taste of this last week when the King went into hospital with an enlarged prostate, unrelated. You know, it was benign. He doesn't have prostate cancer. There's something else that they discovered.

But after that, the Queen -- as someone asked the Queen out on an engagement how he was doing, and she said he's doing fine and looking forward to getting back to work. So, yes, there's going to be huge amounts of media at any royal's appearance whilst the King is out of the public eye.

And that will be our best indication probably about how he's feeling. I've got the sense tonight that he feels a sense of guilt almost. He feels apologetic that he's not going to be able to carry out his public duties and work with the charities in particular.

He's going to focus on his constitutional duties. He's got many causes that he takes very seriously. I know that he stays up very late at night, often beyond midnight, working on reports with those charities. He's not going to be able to do that.

So, he feels bad about that. And for him to go out of the public eye is a big step for him. It's not his natural disposition, as it were. But I understand that it was his medical team that advised him to get out of the public eye. So, that gives some indication about how concerned they are, although, he's able to carry out his public duties.

I think that if he was really concerned about being able to carry on or what his position, he would be appointing counselors of state. And if he -- you know, they've gone out of their way, the palace really to emphasize that he hasn't done that. They didn't have to give us that detail necessarily. But he's not planning to appoint them.

So, it does feel as if they are in control of this. He's at home. He's able to carry out his work. But they're also aware that it's going to cause a huge amount of alarm.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Some significant implications to draw from that bit of reporting.

Max, please stand by. I think we ironed out some of the technical difficulties. And we have Julie Montagu, Viscountess Hinchingbrooke and former BBC royal wedding commentator with us. Julie, thanks so much for sharing part of your day with us.

Your reaction to this announcement that King Charles III has cancer.

MARQUARDT: All right. We may not have actually ironed out those technical difficulties, but we will try to get her back.

We're going to take a quick break. Lots more to discuss about the diagnosis of King Charles. News from Buckingham Palace that the King has been diagnosed with a form of cancer. Stay with us. We'll be right back.



MARQUARDT: Life-threatening downpours are slamming California, putting some 14 million people at the highest risk of flooding. This powerful storm has already caused landslides and power outages. Some homes washed away.

Sunday was the rainiest day in Los Angeles in nearly two decades as in one month of rain in just one day. It's left numerous roads flooded or blocked. Thousands of flights canceled and entire airports out of commission.

We have CNN's Nick Watt on the ground in L.A. County. So, Nick, what kind of conditions are you seeing there?

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Alex, the key here is just how much water we are dealing with here in L.A. County. This is Ballona creek behind me. It's usually not much to write home about.

But in the space of just nine hours, that water rose by 11 feet. You can see how far it came up by the look of that debris. A few hours ago, I would have been standing under water.

Now, the reason we're having so much here is this storm is just moving so slowly. Dumping all this water, you mentioned, rainiest day in Downtown, L.A. in 20 years. We can expect to see a lot of records tumble throughout the day.

The system should be moving down towards San Diego, but it's unclear. I mean, it might just hover around L.A.

Now, why is this happening? Well, the ocean, the Pacific, is warmed by climate change. We've got an El Nino situation which directs a lot of these storms at California.

You've got -- this isn't the issue, the river here. It's the atmospheric river up in the air. They can carry about 20 times the amount of water that the Mississippi River carries and that water is right now being dumped over LA. Ten million people in this county.

And when you have this rain hitting a part of the country that's had quite a lot of rain, actually in the past couple of weeks, so it's kind of saturated. So this rain is hitting saturated ground. It's hitting concrete. It's hitting asphalt. That is why we have this flash flood danger.

That is why we've seen houses washed away up in the Hollywood Hills. So the rain is still going on. We are still monitoring this. We're going to see where it goes. If it hangs here or it heads further.