Several British royals have been diagnosed with various forms of cancer since the start of their family’s reign.
Buckingham Palace announced in February 2024 that King Charles III received a cancer diagnosis one week after he was admitted to The London Clinic to undergo treatment for an enlarged prostate.
“During The King’s recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted,” a statement read at the time. “Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer.”
The palace further explained that Charles had started “a schedule of regular treatments” and would “postpone public-facing duties” while continuing to “undertake State business and official paperwork as usual.” Charles was “grateful to his medical team” for their quick action following his procedure.
The statement concluded: “His Majesty has chosen to share his diagnosis to prevent speculation in the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer.”
Scroll down to see which other royal family members’ health was impacted by cancer over the years:
The daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert died in 1901 from breast cancer at age 60.
King Edward VII
During his reign, which lasted from 1901 until 1910, King Edward VII had a rodent ulcer (basal-cell carcinoma) removed from the area adjacent to his nose, which was cured with radium in 1907, according to Jane Ridley’s Bertie: A Life of Edward VII. His death three years later at age 68 was unrelated to his cancer battle and attributed to an infection from appendix surgery.
King Edward VIII (The Duke of Windsor)
Edward only reigned for a short time in 1936 before abdicating the throne and receiving the title of The Duke of Windsor. He was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1971 after a long history of smoking. He died the following year at age 77.
King George VI
King George VI reigned from 1936 until his death in 1952 at age 56. According to a study from the University of Oxford in 2018, the late king developed lung cancer due to his history as a heavy smoker. As a result, his left lung — including a malignant tumor — was removed during a 1951 surgery.
Queen Elizabeth (The Queen Mother)
The Queen Mother was diagnosed with multiple forms of cancer throughout her time on the throne with husband George V (1936 to 1952), but they weren’t made public until years after her 2002 death at age 101.
Biographer William Shawcross revealed in his 2009 book, The Queen Mother: The Official Biography, that Elizabeth had a tumor removed in 1966 following a colon cancer diagnosis. She was later diagnosed with breast cancer in 1984 and had surgery to remove a lump in her breast.
Sarah, The Duchess of York
Sarah Ferguson announced her breast cancer diagnosis in June 2023. Less than a year later, the Duchess of York revealed in January 2024 that she had received a second cancer diagnosis, malignant melanoma.
King Charles III
Buckingham Palace confirmed that Charles had been diagnosed with cancer in February 2024. While his specific diagnosis was not immediately revealed, royal expert Omid Scobie confirmed Charles did not have prostate cancer.