King Charles, Kate Middleton’s cancer battles make them more relatable to British public: experts

King Charles III has won over the hearts of many Britons as he faces his biggest battle yet.

The reigning monarch, who was crowned on May 6, 2023, at London’s Westminster Abbey, is currently battling cancer. The 75-year-old’s decision to be open about his diagnosis has helped the public connect with the monarchy on a personal level, several royal experts told Fox News Digital.

And it’s not just the king who has spoken about his health woes. His daughter-in-law, Kate Middleton, has made it public that she’s undergoing chemotherapy.


“This unfortunate health battle has not only brought the king and his daughter-in-law closer, but it’s also endeared them to millions of people around the world who have dealt with a scary cancer diagnosis themselves or that of a loved one,” Shannon Felton Spence, former British public affairs official, explained to Fox News Digital.

“They made the right decision to be transparent about the diagnosis – it’s the first time in history a British monarch has done that,” Felton Spence shared. “The king knows that this is an opportunity for him to connect with and serve as an advocate for men everywhere, and to really make a difference with early diagnosis rates.”

“The Princess of Wales took more time to reveal the truth of her treatment, but she explained so poignantly that the decision had everything to do with preparing her young children,” Felton Spence continued. “I think we can expect her to be a bigger presence in cancer advocacy when she is well enough.”

In February, Buckingham Palace announced Charles had been diagnosed with a form of cancer and is undergoing treatment. A “separate issue of concern” was identified during the monarch’s “benign prostate enlargement” procedure at the London Clinic.

“Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer,” the palace said in a statement at the time.

In a video shared in March, the Princess of Wales, 42, revealed that she, too, is battling a form of cancer. Her stunning announcement followed weeks of speculation about her health and whereabouts.

Middleton asked for “time, space and privacy” while she is treated for an unspecified type of cancer that was discovered after what she described as “major” surgery.

Charles said he is “so proud of Catherine for her courage in speaking as she did,” according to a statement released by Buckingham Palace. The king, who received prostate treatment in the same hospital and at the same time Kate had her surgery, had remained in the “closest contact with his beloved daughter-in-law.”

The king and Queen Camilla “will continue to offer their love and support to the whole family through this difficult time,” the palace said.

By choosing to speak directly to the country and the world about her condition, rather than issuing a statement through the palace, the princess offered a level of intimacy and transparency atypical of a member of the British royal family. The king’s disclosure of his condition was also notably open by royal standards.

“King Charles’ openness about his cancer, [in particular,] caught many by surprise when he revealed his condition in such a public manner,” royal expert Ian Pelham Turner told Fox News Digital.

“His mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, was stoic to the end but never spoke publicly about any health issues,” he shared. “[It] was quite obvious her health was failing, especially to those at the palace who saw her going around in a wheelchair. I feel the public has warmed to the king even more [after he spoke out].”

“Certainly, he has become much more physically close, holding hands with cancer patients similar to the late Princess Diana,” Pelham Turner noted. “He seems to feel at ease, putting others at their ease too, and portrays a sense of accomplishment talking about his planned trips abroad this year and events such as Royal Ascot and Trooping the Colour, where he hopes to ride his horse down the Mall to the event.”

On April 30, the king visited the University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre, where he met with medical specialists and patients. It’s understood that the cancer center has not been directly involved with the king’s medical care, People magazine reported.

In a statement previously obtained by Fox News Digital, the palace announced that the visit “will be the first in a number of external engagements His Majesty will undertake in the weeks ahead.”

Another upcoming event is scheduled for June when Charles and Camilla will host the Emperor and Empress of Japan for a state visit.

“As the first anniversary of The Coronation approaches, Their Majesties remain deeply grateful for the many kindnesses and good wishes they have received from around the world throughout the joys and challenges of the past year,” the statement concluded.

The news came after the monarch took a three-month break following his cancer diagnosis. The Princess of Wales has continued to maintain a low profile during her treatment.

A spokesperson for the palace explained to Fox News Digital that while Charles is well enough to resume his duties, he’s still receiving treatment for his cancer.

“His Majesty’s treatment programme will continue, but doctors are sufficiently pleased with the progress made so far that The King is now able to resume a number of public-facing duties. Forthcoming engagements will be adapted where necessary to minimise any risks to His Majesty’s continued recovery,” the palace said.

“His Majesty is greatly encouraged to be resuming some public-facing duties and very grateful to his medical team for their continued care and expertise,” said a spokesperson.

The palace added that it’s “too early to say” how long the king’s treatment may continue, “but His Majesty’s medical team are very encouraged by the progress made so far and remain positive about The King’s continued recovery.”


“The king’s reign so far is viewed as a success both from recent poll numbers and his tremendous reception by the nation,” British royals expert Hilary Fordwich told Fox News Digital. “Mainly this is due to his embodiment of values that the British admire, that of dedication to duty and continuity. He has continued to display the work ethic of his mother, the late, beloved Queen Elizabeth II.”

“The king is renowned for his late hours and even sleeping at his desk,” Fordwich shared. “He has been chomping at the bit to get back to work. In addition, his connection with the everyday cancer patient has further endeared him to the public.”

British broadcaster and photographer Helena Chard told Fox News Digital that the king’s latest public appearances have given the public hope for his ongoing recovery. And once the princess is ready to embark on public duties, she will receive the same support, too.

“Many people have praised King Charles’ sense of duty as he has returned to public-facing events,” she said. “Cancer does not discriminate and the king’s warmth and down-to-earth chats with fellow cancer patients at UCLH is not only a leveling experience but has also shown him in an extra positive light.”

Charles became king in September 2022 when his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, died at the age of 96 after 70 years on the throne.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.