King Charles postpones his first Canadian tour as monarch due to cancer

King Charles III, who ascended to the throne in May 2023 after the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II, has been diagnosed with a form of cancer. The Buckingham Palace announced on Feb. 5 that the King had undergone a procedure for benign prostate enlargement in late January, when the cancer was detected. The Palace did not reveal the type or stage of the cancer, but said the King had started a schedule of regular treatments and remained positive about his recovery.

The King’s health condition has raised concern among royal watchers and the public, especially after his younger son Prince Harry flew to London from California for a brief visit last week. Prince Harry, who stepped back as a working member of the Royal Family in 2020, is expected to attend an event in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C., later this week to launch the one-year countdown to the Invictus Games in 2025.

The King’s planned visit to Canada

According to British media reports in December, the Buckingham Palace was in the early stages of planning a visit to Canada by the King and Queen Camilla this May. The visit would have been the King’s first as Canada’s monarch and head of the Commonwealth, and would have coincided with the first anniversary of his coronation.

King Charles

However, due to the King’s cancer diagnosis and treatment, the visit has been postponed indefinitely. Canadian government sources confirmed to CBC News that the planning for the royal tour had been put on hold. Neither the Palace nor the Canadian government had officially announced the visit, so there was no need to cancel it publicly.

The King has not travelled to many Commonwealth countries since his coronation, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors. He has visited Germany, Romania, France, Kenya and the United Arab Emirates, where he attended the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference. His last trip to Canada was in May 2022, when he visited Newfoundland, Ottawa and the Northwest Territories.

The King’s relationship with Canada

Canada has a long and complex history with the British monarchy, which dates back to the colonial era. The King is the 27th monarch to reign over Canada since King Henry VII in 1497. The King’s role and powers in Canada are largely symbolic and ceremonial, as he is represented by the Governor General, who acts on his behalf and on the advice of the Prime Minister.

The King has expressed his affection and respect for Canada on several occasions, and has advocated for environmental and social causes that are important to Canadians. He has also faced some criticism and controversy, such as his involvement in the constitutional crisis of 2008, when he was accused of interfering in the Canadian parliamentary affairs.

The King’s popularity and relevance in Canada have been debated for decades, as some Canadians question the need and cost of maintaining the monarchy, while others value the tradition and heritage it represents. According to a poll conducted by Ipsos in September 2023, 45% of Canadians supported keeping the monarchy, while 43% preferred a republic.

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