King Charles is ‘Hugely Frustrated’ by Schedule-Snarling Cancer Treatments

In an interview published Sunday, a member of the royal family provided a significant update on King Charles III’s cancer battle, and said that he’s eager to resume his official duties. The news comes from Peter Phillips, the son of Princess Anne and ex-husband Captain Mark Phillips.

Phillips spoke with Sky News Australia shortly before Catherine, Princess of Wales announced that she had also been diagnosed with cancer, the news agency says. The full conversation with the king’s nephew was broadcast on Australian television on Sunday.

Phillips, the first grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, was fifth in line for the crown prior to the birth of his cousins and their kids. (He’s now 18th in the line of succession.) “He’s in good spirits,” Phillips says of his uncle, who announced in February that he was undergoing treatments for an unspecified form of cancer.

Peter Phillips attended day 4, ‘Gold Cup Day’, of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 15, 2024, in Cheltenham, England.

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The king’s good mood is sometimes tempered by his desire to return to public life, Phillips says. “He is very pragmatic (and) he understands that there’s a period of time that he really needs to focus on himself,” Phillips says of Charles. “I think, ultimately, he’s hugely frustrated. He’s frustrated that he can’t get on and do everything that he wants to be able to do.”

This isn’t the first time Charles’s demeanor has been characterized as both “pragmatic” and “frustrated.” Sources close to the king shared that same sentiment with Vanity Fair last month, saying then that “The king is both pragmatic and optimistic,” but is also “frustrated” by his diagnosis.

According to Phillips, Charles “is always pushing his staff and everybody and his doctors and nurses to be able to say ‘actually come on, you know, can I do this? Can I do that?’”

“So the overriding message would be that he’s obviously very keen to get back to a form of normality,” Phillips says. 

From left to right, Prince William, Prince Harry, Diana, Princess of Wales (1961 – 1997), the Duchess of York, Peter Phillips, Princess Anne and Zara Phillips at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, during the Easter service on March  31, 1991.

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One goal for the king might be the family’s annual attendance at Easter Sunday services at St. George Chapel. It’s a longstanding tradition for the royals to attend Easter services at the Gothic chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle. 

This year, that tradition will be upended a bit: Kate Middleton and Prince William will not attend the March 31 services, nor will their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. According to the BBC, “we do not expect to see or hear from the family” until after April 17, when the kids return to school from the current Easter break.

However, Charles is eager to “lead the family to church” that day, if his doctors allow. A Buckingham Palace spokesperson says they are “hopeful” he will be able to attend services, along with other members of the family. 

According to Phillips, Charles’s patience with watching from the sidelines has nearly run out. “He’s probably frustrated that recovery is taking a little longer than probably he would want it to,” Phillips says. 

Charles and Queen Camilla “would obviously love to see as many people as possible,” Phillips says.” They are very keen and very active to be able to, you know, be seen and meet as many people as possible from all walks of life.”

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