King Charles commenced treatment as an out-patient in London on Monday
On Tuesday, the King and Queen Camilla were photographed driving from Clarence House, their home in London, one day after the palace made the shocking announcement about the King’s health. The royals gave a wave through the window, and the couple reportedly made their way to Buckingham Palace, where they'd travel to Sandringham House by helicopter.
Feb. 6 is an emotional day on the British royal family’s calendar, and King Charles, 75, and Queen Camilla, 76, will follow in Queen Elizabeth’s footsteps by spending the day privately at the royal residence in the Norfolk countryside, about 110 miles north of London. On Feb. 6, 1952, King George VI was found dead in his bed at Sandringham, making his eldest daughter, the 25-year-old then-Princess Elizabeth, Great Britain's new monarch. It would take hours for the new sovereign to know about her father's death, as she was in Kenya on a wildlife-watching stop during a royal tour with her husband, Prince Philip.
Throughout her reign, Queen Elizabeth traditionally spent her Accession Day privately at Sandringham, where King George died and where the royal family gathers each year for Christmas. It was not only the anniversary of her beloved father's death, but also the day her life changed forever as she immediately became the new monarch.
According to a timeline by The Telegraph, King Charles and Queen Camilla departed for Sandringham after they met with Prince Harry. The outlet reported that the father and son “are thought to have enjoyed a short private meeting.” It’s understood that the King personally informed his sons, Prince Harry and Prince William as well as other family members of his cancer diagnosis before Buckingham Palace made the public announcement on Monday.
The Duke of Sussex, 39, arrived in London on Tuesday after catching a flight from Los Angeles on Monday. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle relocated to her home state of California in 2020, and Harry made the trip without his wife and their children, Prince Archie, 4, and Princess Lilibet, 2. It’s believed that Prince Harry and the King were most recently together at the coronation ceremony in May 2023.
"That is good," a source close to the royal household tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week's cover story. “Hopefully [Harry] will bring the grandchildren at some point too, as that would be lovely for all of them."
King Charles travels back to Sandringham after spending just one day in London, where he started treatment as an out-patient.
On Monday, the palace announced that the monarch is receiving treatment for “a form of cancer.” The diagnosis was publicized shortly after King Charles underwent a procedure to treat a benign enlarged prostate on Jan. 26. The update came one week after he left the London Clinic following a three-day stay after the surgery. However, he does not have prostate cancer.
“During The King's recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted. Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement on Monday.
"His Majesty has today commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties. Throughout this period, His Majesty will continue to undertake State business and official paperwork as usual," it continued.
"The King is grateful to his medical team for their swift intervention, which was made possible thanks to his recent hospital procedure. He remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible," the statement added. "His Majesty has chosen to share his diagnosis to prevent speculation and in the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer.”
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While the King was briefly photographed on Tuesday, he had stepped away from public duties amid his recovery from prostate surgery, and it's not known when he will return to royal engagements given his cancer diagnosis. PEOPLE understands he will continue to receive red boxes, the monarch's daily delivery of documents needing his attention, and process state documents during his treatment.
There are currently no plans to appoint Counsellors of State to act on King Charles' behalf.
The news came the day after King Charles attended church at St. Mary Magdalene Church near Sandringham with Queen Camilla. The Sunday service marked the monarch's first outing since leaving the London Clinic, where his daughter-in-law Kate Middleton had abdominal surgery on Jan. 16.
Those close to the family were taken aback by the announcement. “I was really shocked when I heard it,” a palace insider tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story.
Adds a palace insider: “He will want to get on with the job. But that will depend on what treatment he is having. It may be utterly draining on him. He will need a lot of support.”
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