Return to Transcripts main page
Isa Soares Tonight
King Charles III Diagnosed With Cancer. Aired 2:27-3p ET
Aired February 05, 2024 - 14:27 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome everyone, I'm Isa Soares coming to you from London. I want to get back to our breaking news out of
Buckingham Palace, Britain's King Charles has been diagnosed with cancer and is currently undergoing treatment. It was apparently discovered during
the King's recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement.
Now the palace did not specify what form of cancer it is or indeed what stage it is in. But they did release a statement saying the 75-year-old
King has been advised by doctors to postpone public appearances for now. A royal source says no more detail will be provided at this point.
While Max Foster is our royal correspondent and he's outside Buckingham Palace. So Max, give us some - we have some detail from the statement from
Buckingham Palace but give us a sense of what you are hearing from the palace at this stage.
MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was coincidence almost that they noticed this cancer because it came off the back of tests the King received
in hospital when he was being treated for that benign enlarged prostate. So, the King very much thanking the medical team for finding this and the
King has come back from Sandringham to London. My understanding is that he's at home receiving outpatient care and he is - his doctors have advised
him not to appear in public. So, we won't be seeing him.
It's not prostate cancer, it is an unrelated cancer, they're not going to give us anymore detail about exactly what sort of cancer it is. They're
saying he does - he is entitled to some privacy but they're also keenly aware that the public's very concerned and alarmed by what they're hearing.
SOARES: Indeed and this is - this statement itself is not something, the transparency, that we would normally see, right, when it comes to royal
family. The King has taken that away when he went in for that procedure Max. What does this mean though in terms of going forward? Who will pick up
most of the duties here?
FOSTER: Well the key constitutional duties he is going to carry on with we're told. He's going to receive red boxes where he gets documents from
the government to read over and to sign documents. So he appoints ministers, he signs laws.
These are key constitutional duties and the system effectively grinds to a halt, the legal system, the political system, if he's unable to do that.
So, I'm told that he is able to do that so that side of it is OK. And crucially, I'm also told he hasn't appointed counsel of states. They are
members of the family who would be given his responsibilities to carry on his job if he were incapacitated, if for example, he had to go into surgery
under anesthetic. He's not planning to do that. So, that gives us a sense of what he's looking at in terms of treatment.
I am told that Prince William and the Queen will get to carry out more public duties to really represent the monarchy in public. That's a crucial
role of monarchy to represent that continuity. But, you know, just that is alarming to the public when they do look to the monarch, particularly a new
monarch, to represent them in the world and on the public stage. So, I think really the challenge for Buckingham Palace now is to reassure people
that the system's still working and hopefully things will be OK. I think we'll get updates only when things improve or indeed get worse. I don't
think we're necessarily going to have a running commentary on exactly how he's doing.
SOARES: Yes. And on that point, I mean, in the statement, it says he remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning
to full public duty as soon as possible, but he did say that he's doing this. He's talking about this to prevent and speculation, Max, which just
talk to that, it's just something that we're just not used to, is it?
FOSTER: Yes. So the speculation, obviously, in today's digital world is already going wild about exactly what it is because, you know, when you get
a vacuum of information, people do fill it with all sorts of nonsense and they're aware of that. But what they're very much asking the media to do is
not to speculate and I think they've got a legitimate reason to doing that because it worries the public and it causes concern when it might not
necessarily be there. So, they've done all they can to give the detail that they are going to give, but they just have this on, you know, long-running
policy of not giving exact medical details because they feel he does have a right to privacy.
We still don't, Isa, do we know how The Queen died. We're never going to be given that information. We don't know exactly why the Princess of Wales was
in the hospital a couple of weeks ago. So, there's a line that's drawn there and they don't feel it's necessarily worrying people not to go beyond
it. They feel that, you know, the public does understand that this is a long-running policy, and they're not going to give the exact detail until
they have to.
Of course, if things get a lot worse, there's a public duty on their behalf to inform public that the monarchy is feeling vulnerable, but at this
point, they don't necessarily sense that.
SOARES: Yes. And their transparency has been something new for this monarch, especially when he went in for that procedure, Max. I remember
seeing it or something like an 11 cent increase or something like this of people checking in, reading up with the National Health Service about
prostate cancer. Is it something that matters hugely to this monarch?
FOSTER: It does, but we've got to separate the two incidents. So, I think, you know, this incident, being diagnosed with cancer, they had absolute
public duty to reveal to the public who The King represents. I think, you know, what happened in terms of his prostate, that was a gray area, if you
like. They didn't necessarily have to reveal that to the public, but he chose to do so in order to raise awareness of the issue and encourage
people, men to go and get checked. So, they're two separate incidents really.
We have Princess of Wales, they had to tell about -- to tell us about that because she's the future queen and she was having an operation and
something could have gone wrong. It would have been irresponsible not to tell the public about that. So, there is a level at which they have to tell
us. And this is at that level. The prostate wasn't necessarily because they told us very early on it was benign.
SOARES: Very important context. And finally, Max, I mean, how is The King likely besides being absolutely terrified of this diagnosis? How do you
think pausing some of these face-to-face meetings -- he is a bit of a workaholic and he loves being engaged and busy with all these charities,
how would you think how important will this -- will this be for him, not being able to be part, be meeting some of these key individuals from these
FOSTER: Well, it really is what makes him tick. If you follow him like I do, you see how he just throws himself into work and a lot of the work is
behind the scenes. He sits up -- I mean, The Queen once told me that he was up until midnight, beyond midnight, quite often writing reports to send off
to his charities the next day. She rarely sees him in the evenings. It's really what drives him.
And I think that really comes from being the longest serving Prince of Wales has ever been in that he had to define his own role rather than just
waiting to get to the throne. So, he created all of these positions, which he takes incredibly seriously. And he takes them very personally. And I
think tonight, he's apologizing to those causes and charities because he's unable to carry out those duties. It's a huge frustration to him.
And I think frankly just sitting at home doing nothing is going to drive him absolutely crazy. But he's been told by his doctors he has to do that.
so he's kind of stuck with it.
SOARES: We wish him well, and of course we wish him a speedy recovery. Max Foster there for us. Thanks very much, Max.
And words of support for the king have been pouring in. U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak posted on social media there. So, let me show it to you,
"Wishing His Majesty a full and speedy recovery. I have no doubt he'll be back to full strength in no time and I know the whole country will be
wishing him well."
There are also messages of encouragement men from the leader of the opposition Labor Party and from the first ministers of Wales and Scotland.
I would like to bring in Dr. Curtiland Deville, Radiation Oncologist, and the Medical Director, the Johns Hopkins Proton Therapy Center. Doctor,
thank you very much for joining us. I'm not sure how much of my conversation you heard with our Royal Correspondent, Max Foster, said, but
just your reaction of -- from what you've heard.
CURTILAND DEVILLE, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, JOHNS HOPKINS PROTON THERAPY CENTER: Yes. I was able to hear it. And thanks for having me. You know, I think
we're still learning a lot of information and a lot of information is unknown. The challenge with cancer is really any cell in the body can
become a cancer. And so you really have to we do an extensive workup to understand the type of cancer and the treatments are wide ranging and can
be very different.
FOSTER: We have heard though, and you heard that from Max saying that it's not prostate, that's what we've heard. We've also heard that he's getting
outpatient care. I mean, does that - I mean, what do you take away from that?
DEVILLE: Yes. Again, you know, it is some information, but it's still limited. We know it's not prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most
common cancer in men. So, that is something that we're often, you know, paying attention to and worrying about the other, you know, most common
cancers in men would be lung cancer, colorectal cancer. But again, you know, really, it could be anything at this point.
If we think about the types of treatment, outpatient management is very common. And so that's not necessarily telling us too much. Even if patients
are getting systemic treatments, which, you know, sounds a little bit like that might be the case. Those may be things like chemotherapy, hormonal
therapy, target therapies, those may be things that the patient can get an infusion within the hospital, within an outpatient center, or even at home
in some cases. And then, you know, that is sort of a beginning part of their treatment.
And so it's still unclear, I would say. You know, other cancers may require things like surgery, radiation, where the obviously the patient is going to
be admitted or come into the hospital or have an elected procedure. And so it might be a little bit more obvious. But, you know, so some information,
but still not very clear.
SOARES: Yes, and I suppose we don't know what stage this is, right? What type of cancer, what stage this is as well. In this statement from
Buckingham Palace, doctor, we heard that he went in for benign prostate enlargement and a separate issue of concern was noted, right? Talking about
this form of cancer. When you go in for these procedures, for prostate enlargement procedure, what kind of tests are done? I'm guessing blood,
urine, X-rays, just talk to us through it.
DEVILLE: Yes. And so for benign prostate enlargement, very common in men, you know, may present with urinary symptoms or frequency or obstruction,
difficulty to urinate. I mean, there are a few different types of procedures that can be done to essentially relieve the obstruction to
improve the flow. Those can be surgical or they can be, you know, even laser-type treatments that are still done in an invasive manner. I'll work
up to make sure the patient is sort of fit for any procedure when it includes the types of tests that you mentioned, blood work, you know, maybe
some basic imaging, one to understand the prostate and what's going on in the pelvic anatomy.
Sometimes there may be, you know, additional imaging or things that happen as a result of the procedure that you may order additional tests. And we
may find things that we, you know, we call incidental findings. And so in what sounds like in this type of situation, you know, something more
worrisome is picked up as part of a different, somewhat almost routine or elected process. And in this case, if it was picking up a cancer, really
incidental to, you know, the other procedure that was being done, you know, it may hint that there was something in the vicinity, in that area, but,
you know, it could very well be something more distant. If, for example, a chest X-ray was done and picks up something more distantly.
So, again, we don't know those details.
So I wouldn't necessarily over speculate, but one having a good understanding of that cancer. And as you mentioned once, there is a
suspicion of working it up appropriately to assess the staging.
SOARES: Yes, I mean, the reason I ask is just, you know, as The King, of course, I would expect that the king would be getting more tests than the
majority of us. He would have fantastic prime healthcare doctors at his disposal. But these are sort of tests that would have been done on a
regular basis, I would suspect.
DEVILLE: Well, you know, the challenge with cancer is that, you know, very often the patient may have no symptoms for a long time, depending on the
type of cancer. And not all cancer have screening tests.
DEVILLE: And so the sort of implication there is that we have to be -- we only test for the most common cancers in a particular, you know, country or
locality. And so it may be one that was not specifically being screened for that manifests later.
SOARES: Such important analysis and context, Doctor. I know there's a lot we don't know. We do not want to speculate trying to get an understanding,
of course, how The King is and what his prognosis is. And of course, we wish him a speedy recovery.
Doctor, appreciate you taking the time to speak to us. Thank you very much, sir.
DEVILLE: Absolutely. Thank you.
SOARES: Thank you. We are going to take a short break. We'll be back with more breaking news after this.
SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. Let's return to our breaking news we've followed for the past hour. So, King Charles III has been diagnosed, we've
been told, with cancer. Buckingham Palace made the announcement a short time ago but didn't specify of what cancer -- what kind of cancer it is.
According to statement, the cancer was discovered during The King's hospital procedure last week for benign prostate enlargement. The Palace
says The King will be postponing his public duties for the time being.
And reaction as we brought you from -- here in the U.K., also international reaction, U.S. President Joe Biden says he's concerned about King Charles,
that he is following the monarch's cancer diagnosis. Asked about the development while in Las Vegas, Mr. Biden said, "I'm concerned about him.
Just heard about diagnosis." He went on to say that he expects to speak soon with the King.
And in terms of more, what we've heard His Majesty's today commends a schedule of regular treatments during which time he's 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. He went on to say he remains, The
King remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible. And that the Majesty's
has chosen to share his diagnosis to prevent a look forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible. And that the Majesty's Majesty has
chosen to share his diagnosis to prevent speculation and the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected
Let me bring in CNN Royal Historian Kate Williams. Kate, good to see you. What do you make -- I mean, this has definitely caught many of us by
surprise. And it is indeed a scary diagnosis.
KATE WILLIAMS, CNN ROYAL HISTORIAN: It is a scary diagnosis. Cancer is something that about one and two of us suffer from across the world. And
many people recover totally and go on to lead fantastic great lives. Many people, it is a brutal, cruel diagnosis, the treatment is tough. And it can
cut life short. It's really tough. And so it has been a great surprise because we knew that Charles went in. It was for a minor issue. They were
very transparent about it, The Palace. It was just a minor issue, prostate enlargement, which is very common among men.
And the only hint that we had was he stayed in one extra night. But that could have meant very little at all. And then we now have this really
surprising announcement. And we all are wishing The King well. President Biden, the Prime Minister. But certainly at the moment, it does sound as if
we can't speculate. But as if the cancer that they have found is early stages because he's going for outpatient treatment. There's no top
operation planned. So hopefully, they've caught it and it will be treated quickly.
SOARES: Yes, and I remember seeing photos of him, Kate, just over the weekend at Sandringham coming out of church. You know, he looked very
jovial. He waved to all those who were there, seeing him and the Queen, of course. So, caught many of us by surprise. But in terms of his statement,
is there anything there that took you by surprise? Any kind of hints there that you think of what may happen in the next few days? It seems like he
will continue his schedule as much as possible to what he's normally doing without the face-to-face, right? The face-to-face meetings. Public
meetings, you could say.
WILLIAMS: Yes, that the -- that's the difference. The public engagements are not going to happen. The King is working from home. He is doing -- he's
still the KING. There's no regency. There's no need for the Counselors of State to step in. If he was to have an operation, you know, an operation of
which one is in need for time -- for some time, we would need a Counselors of State to step in to cover the role of King. But at the moment, all the
constitutional duties, talking to the Prime Minister, the stamping laws, the documents, he will be doing all of that. It's the public facing work.
And this is where we see the result, really, of the slim-down royal family. Because that's what the movement has been towards. But now we have the
Princess of Wales is out of action until at least after Easter, recovering from her serious surgery. William was going to be looking after her. He's
come back to work early. We really have all of the public facing royal duties now around the shoulders of William and Queen Camilla. We also have
Anne and Edward. But that's a lot of the King's duties to fulfill. And certainly, for the next few months, the public facing face of the monarchy
will be William.
SOARES: Indeed, yes. And that's going to fall on both of them, on Kate and on William, of course, to really step up.
We've also heard, Kate, that Harry, as well, has been in contact with his father, that he will be traveling to the U.K. potentially. I mean, we
haven't seen him for some time I think since June last year. So, this will be quite something.
WILLIAMS: Yes, Harry is on his way. I presume he is either heading or is on a plane right now. So, he should be -- my presumption is he's coming in
very swiftly and he will be here tomorrow so he will be visiting the King. We will see him visiting the King. Harry, of course, is someone who could
step in for the King because he is heir to the throne in this way. I don't expect we'll see him covering the duties. But I think this is something
that's going to really give rise to people feeling as a lot of pulling together, a lot of affection here. But also, I think it may cause some
worry that Harry has jumped in a plane from Los Angeles as fast as he can.
And we are seeing this transparency here, aren't we? With the Queen, we weren't told that she was even feeling a little bit ill until when she --
on the actual day that she passed. Two days before, she was with this trusted Prime Minister, with the Queen's father, George VI, we weren't even
told that she was very, very ill from lung cancer. The Queen herself, then Princess Elizabeth, she didn't even know, and that's why she was on a royal
tour to Kenya and was in a tree house when she became Queen. So, we are seeing this transparency.
The King is saying it's cancer, but it's not prostate cancer, and it's outpatient treatment. So, really saying here that hopefully it's something
that has been captured and be caught early by the outpatient treatment, and constitutionally the monarchy is not going to be affected.
But we are used with the Queen. She was never on sick leave. She was never away. So, you know, we have a different monarchy here, who has a sick --
who have days off sick, which we all do.
SOARES: Yes, giving us some detail, but not too much detail, keeping -- offering some sort of transparency, but clearly trying to show the
importance of -- that there will be continuity of monarchy, and I think that that is very clear from this message. And, of course, we're pointing
out to our viewers that we never -- we don't know to this date, right, Kate? What Queen died of so this is quite a shift in what we are seeing
from this monarch.
Kate Williams, always great to see you. Thank you very much.
WILLIAMS: Thank you.
SOARES: We are going to take a short break. We'll be back after this.
SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. If you're just joining us, let me bring you up-to-date and the breaking news that we have been following here on CNN.
Buckingham Palace told us that it says that King Charles III has been diagnosed with a form of cancer. Now, The Palace do not specify what form
of cancer it is or what stage it is in. And we won't receive any new details at this point. That is according to a royal source.
Our Nada Bashir joins me now. And Nada, we do have some detail from that statement from Buckingham Palace, but not much detail, right? So being
transparent, but not too transparent. Just talk us through what you are hearing in the last few minutes because it seems that it's not prostate.
That's for sure what we're hearing, right?
NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is according to a royal source, but of course, as we know, this has come about after King Charles III underwent a
procedure because of an enlarged benign prostate. That was the concern, of course, which led King Charles III to undergo treatment to require a stay
in hospital. It was during that procedure that doctors and medical staff identified what is now being described and characterized by Buckingham
Palace as another form of cancer during that procedure.
Again, a royal source has told CNN that it is not believed to be linked to prostate cancer. That, of course, was a concern at the time that Buckingham
Palace announced that King Charles III had undergone a procedure. No further details just yet on the form of cancer that has been identified,
but we understand that King Charles III has returned to London where he is undergoing now for the next couple of weeks scheduled treatment for cancer.
We have seen some detail in this statement saying, according to Buckingham Palace, that King Charles III will be taking a step back from his public
facing duties in order to focus on his health. He will still be carrying out state business privately behind the scenes, but, of course, taking a
break to focus on his health. That is something we've seen in the past, of course, with the late Queen Elizabeth II. She also took a step back from
public facing duties, a time where we would have seen the now King stepping up taking on greater responsibility, questions around whether we may see
Prince William now at the Prince of Wales stepping up to take on further responsibilities now.
SOARES: Yes. Most likely with a slimmed-down monarchy, probably Camilla and Prince William will be asked to step up. Nada Bashir there for us. Thanks
very much, Nada, with that breaking news. We will stay across this breaking news story right here on CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next, Paula
Newton will have all the details.