King Charles Is Reportedly “In Denial” About How Much He Can Handle As He’s Set to Juggle a Major Foreign Tour Alongside Continued Cancer Treatment This Fall

The Palace still hasn’t confirmed that two countries are reportedly being dropped from the royal tour of Oceania this fall, as “Charles is optimistic and desperately wants to keep going with everything.”

Prince Charles
(Image credit: Getty Images)

King Charles has always been a workhorse, and, even as he continues to receive treatment for cancer, seems to bite off more than he can chew. (It’s something his loving wife, Queen Camilla, has jokingly in public—and probably sometimes not-so-jokingly in private—chastised him for.)

Charles announced his cancer diagnosis on February 5, the same day he began cancer treatment. He continued to work from home and appear in public occasionally until April 30, when he officially returned to public life; he is scheduled to undergo his first royal tour post-diagnosis in October, when he and Camilla are scheduled to visit Oceania. Their original plan was to stop in four countries—Australia, Samoa, New Zealand, and Fiji—but, reports say, the New Zealand and Fiji legs of the tour are reportedly on the chopping block because of Charles’ need to pace himself as he continues recovery. 

King Charles

The Queen has reportedly begged her husband to "slow down" as he works tirelessly, even as he receives continued treatment for cancer.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

But, The Daily Beast reports, the King is in “denial” over the planning of this tour, likely wanting to go through with all of it, even though it’s not advisable. Buckingham Palace hasn’t yet confirmed the cancellation of the two legs of the Oceania tour, “although even the Prime Minister of New Zealand came close to conceding the truth of the worst kept secret in diplomacy when he said this weekend that Charles had an ‘open invitation’ to visit the country,” The Daily Beast’s Tom Sykes writes. Another lawmaker said, per Sykes, “If the royal visit is canceled, New Zealanders will be typically reasonable about it.”

In more hints that the tour is being scaled back, Charles’ private secretary Clive Alderton has been in Australia in recent days, Sykes reports, “preparing the ground for his master’s forthcoming visit to that country, expected to take place in mid-October this year. The absence of an Alderton sighting in New Zealand, however, has served as yet more evidence that Charles has now all but canceled his tour of that country, which was to be bolted on to the Australia trip. A proposed trip to Fiji has also, reportedly, been shelved.”

King Charles and Queen Camilla at the Easter service

The couple's planned tour of Oceania included four countries, but, as the King's health takes priority, New Zealand and Fiji have reportedly been dropped from the itinerary. 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Mirror broke news of the cancellation, saying it would be “a bitter disappointment on both sides,” but for now, “the Palace is sticking to the line that planning for the trip continues,” Sykes writes, adding that “the Palace’s unwillingness to rush out an announcement is entirely understandable, given that they still hope Charles will be able to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) conference in Samoa, despite his ongoing cancer fight.” 

As to why the Palace won’t confirm that the tour has been shortened, “They are in denial by continuing to say that planning for the overseas trip is full steam ahead—but the orders come from the top,” a source speaking to The Daily Beast said. “Charles is optimistic and desperately wants to keep going with everything. Missing New Zealand is a great loss, and it will be a source of great regret for him, because, to be honest, he probably won’t be doing it again. But it’s frankly incredible that he is still doing Australia, and that should be celebrated.” 

King Charles

Because of Australia's important relationship with the Commonwealth, the King absolutely refuses to miss a chance to visit there.

(Image credit: Getty)

Though Australia seems to be a go for October, even that leg is being reduced, as The Mirror reports that it is being reduced to six days—including a two-day break. “Australia is such an important part of the Commonwealth that Charles feels it is absolutely non-negotiable,” they said. “There is considerable popular antipathy to the entire concept of the British monarch being head of state there, and, of course, he doesn’t want to go down as the man who lost Australia. To go there when he is being treated for cancer wasn’t what he planned—but you could hardly think of a better way of letting Australians know how important they are to the Crown.”

Sykes writes that the King’s “entirely unsurprising decision to cancel the New Zealand leg of the tour has raised questions about running a packed schedule while being treated for cancer.” Camilla has reportedly repeatedly urged her husband to “slow down,” with one of her friends previously telling The Daily Beast of the couple “Of course, he wants to keep cracking on, but she is afraid that doing too much could set him back.” 

King Charles and Queen Camilla

Camilla, as any loving wife would, is keen to put her husband's health first as he battles cancer.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A friend of the King told the publication that “Charles is keenly aware of the importance of a visit by the monarch—not just to a foreign country, but to domestic charities and organizations,” they said. “That is why he has been determined to do as much as he can, meet as many people as he can, and support as many causes as he can. Sitting in splendid isolation in Balmoral with his feet up would not be good for his morale. But at the same time, if the doctors—and his wife—say no to something, he has to listen to them. I think that is what we are seeing now.”

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.