King Charles III has been diagnosed with cancer and is suspending his public engagements to undergo treatment, casting a shadow over a busy reign that began less than 18 months ago after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

The announcement, made by Buckingham Palace on Monday evening, came a week after the 75-year-old sovereign was discharged from a London hospital, following a procedure to treat an enlarged prostate.

The palace did not disclose what form of cancer Charles has, but a palace official said it was not prostate cancer. Doctors detected the cancer during that procedure, and the king began treatment on Monday.

News of Charles’ diagnosis reverberated through Britain, which, after seven decades of Elizabeth’s reign, has begun to get comfortable with her son. Charles waited longer to ascend the throne than anyone in the history of the British monarchy, and he was a familiar figure, with a personal life relentlessly dissected by the British media by the time he became the sovereign.

As king, however, Charles has become a confident elder statesman, putting a subtle but unmistakable stamp on the monarchy. He has traveled widely and spoken out on issues like climate change that have long been important to him.

Anxiety for Charles mixed with hope that he would recover swiftly. But in the absence of details about his condition, there was, inevitably, speculation, as royal watchers parsed the palace’s four-paragraph announcement.

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