King’s Australian visit still on, despite cancer treatment

Prince William thanks well-wishers

The King’s Australian tour is still scheduled to go ahead later this year, despite his cancer diagnosis.

The update came as the monarch was seen heading to church with the Queen, for the first time since Buckingham Palace announced his diagnosis with an unspecified cancer.

Walking alongside his wife and holding an umbrella, the King arrived at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk, on Sunday morning (local time).

Buckingham Palace announced in early February the 75-year-old monarch had begun regular treatments for cancer and would postpone his public duties for an unspecified period of time.

The King – who acceded to the throne just 17 months ago – had been expected to visit Australia in late 2024, as part of a broader trip to the region for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in October.

On Monday, Paul Singer, official secretary to the governor-general, told a Senate estimates hearing he was not aware of any plans to postpone or cancel the royal trip.

“There has been public speculation about that visit occurring near CHOGM later this year, and I’m aware of there being some preliminary planning to support that,” he said.

The palace hasn’t confirmed the type of cancer the King has, only that it was found during treatment for an enlarged prostate.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Opposition Leader Peter Dutton have both wished the King a speedy recovery.

Sunday’s visit to church was the first time the King had been seen in public since he left London last Tuesday after having started his cancer treatment. He and the Queen flew to their Sandringham estate following a brief reunion with the King’s youngest son, Harry.

On Saturday, the King issued a statement thanking people for their “many messages of support and good wishes” and said it was “equally heartening” to hear how sharing his diagnosis has helped to promote public understanding of cancer.

The monarch’s illness was diagnosed after a “separate issue of concern was noted” and investigated while he was being treated for a benign enlarged prostate.

Meanwhile, the Prince and Princess of Wales are also reportedly in Norfolk, as she continues to recover from major abdominal surgery a month ago.

British media reported at the weekend that Prince William and Kate and their three children – Princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte – had headed for their Anmer Hall to enjoy a week of half-term holidays. The house, gifted to the couple by the late queen, is also at Sandringham.

“Catherine is recovering well,” a source told British tabloids.

“She was looking forward to a change of scene and will be able to take it easy in Norfolk while the children let off steam with William.”

It is thought to be the first time Kate has left the Wales’ Windsor home since being discharged from hospital nearly a fortnight ago.

Her recovery is expected to keep her out of the public eye until after Easter. While the exact nature of Kate’s illness has not been specified, Kensington Palace has confirmed she did not have cancer.

-with AAP

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