Why Isn’t King Charles Revealing His Specific Type of Cancer? His Former Communications Secretary Explains

While of course we’d all like to know, the reason makes sense.

King Charles III
(Image credit: Getty)

King Charles’ candor in revealing his cancer diagnosis to the public is a break from so-called royal protocol, but his reticence to reveal the exact type of cancer has the public wondering why, if he opted to share that he has cancer, he wouldn’t reveal where it is located in his body.

Yesterday, Buckingham Palace revealed that the King, 75, has cancer, which was found during Charles’ corrective procedure for a benign enlarged prostate on January 26. That said, his cancer is not prostate cancer, and speculation is running rampant as to where the cancer is and its severity.

King Charles in France

King Charles began outpatient treatment for an undisclosed type of cancer yesterday

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The King’s former communications secretary appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain to shed some insight as to why she believes the Palace won’t reveal the type of cancer the King has. “I have to say, I wouldn’t open the door more,” Kristina Kyriacou said, per The Mirror. “They’ve said a form of cancer has been found, and I personally wouldn’t have advised you go further and say what type of cancer. I think there’s plenty of time for that.”

Kyriacou continued “The trouble is, the more information you give, the more people speculate. The second they know what kind of cancer it is, everyone starts looking it up, people start Googling and they say ‘I know someone and this happened to them, this is what he’ll be going through.’ We know that he’s ill, he’s got a type of cancer, and it’s going to be treated.”

King Charles

The prognosis for the King's health appears positive, as the cancer was caught early

(Image credit: Getty)

The same day that the announcement was made about Charles’ health, he began outpatient treatments in London. Of the Palace’s statement about his health, Kyriacou said “I’ve taken that statement as a very positive statement that it’s treatable,” she said. “I hope I’m right. We should remember at this point the monarchy are trying not to become the story. I know that’s being a bit laughable for certain members of the royal family in the last couple of years. But Queen Elizabeth and King Charles—they do not want to become the story. They still want to serve their public. In the fullness of time, I would like to think King Charles will talk about his treatment.”

Though the Palace is revealing little information outside of yesterday’s statement, U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak revealed that Charles’ cancer has been “caught early” during an appearance on BBC Radio 5 Live. Prognosis looks good for the King, and the outlook appears to be positive for his recovery and that he will be able to continue to carry out his constitutional duties as monarch, though his public engagements will be paused for the time being. 

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.