Plans for King Charles III’s first visit to Canada as head of state are on hold following his cancer diagnosis, CBC News has learned.
Sources confirm preparations were underway for a spring visit from King Charles III and Queen Camilla
Kate McKenna · CBC News
· Posted: Feb 12, 2024 12:04 PM EST | Last Updated: 5 hours ago
King Charles and Queen Camilla leave The London Clinic on Jan. 29 in London, England. The King had been receiving treatment for an enlarged prostate when medical staff detected a form of cancer. (Peter Nicholls/Getty Images)Plans for King Charles III’s first tour of Canada as head of state are on hold following his cancer diagnosis, CBC News has learned.
Although the visit was never confirmed officially by Buckingham Palace, Canadian government sources told CBC News King Charles III and Queen Camilla were set to visit in May 2024. The planned tour also has been reported on by British media.
Earlier this month, Buckingham Palace said medical staff found a form of cancer when the 75-year-old King went through a hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, and said he had commenced a schedule of regular treatments.
In the statement, the Palace didn’t specify the type of cancer detected or the treatment the King is receiving. It said the King “remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible.”
In a response to a CBC News access to information request, a Canadian official wrote that “following the announcement of a cancer diagnosis for His Majesty the King, there are no more tours planned in Canada for 2024, nor are there any tours planned with other members of the Royal Family.”
Sources who are not authorized to speak publicly have told CBC News that planning for the royal visit has been postponed.
Buckingham Palace did not respond to a request for comment.
Because no tours were announced publicly, the Royal Family won’t have to cancel anything publicly, said royal commentator and author Victoria Murphy.
“There’s no doubt there were things in the planning discussions behind the scenes that have now been paused because of this diagnosis,” she said in an interview with CBC News on Monday.
The King, who was crowned last May, hasn’t travelled to many Commonwealth countries since his coronation.
As King, he has travelled to Germany, Romania, France, Kenya and, most recently, the United Arab Emirates for the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference.
“I would’ve expected that this year, the king would’ve done, in normal circumstances, quite a bit of overseas travels,” said Murphy. “Everything has shifted now because of this diagnosis.”
His last trip to Canada was in May 2022, when he visited Newfoundland, Ottawa and the Northwest Territories. During that visit, then-Assembly of First Nations national chief RoseAnne Archibald called on the Queen to apologize for the Crown’s “ongoing failure to fulfil its treaty agreements” with Indigenous peoples.
Archibald told reporters that Charles listened to the request and was “very empathetic.”
Canada divided over cutting ties with the CrownA poll conducted shortly before the King’s coronation showed Canadians are divided about whether the country should remain tied to the Crown.
A Leger survey of 1,544 Canadians found 56 per cent of respondents agreed the country should “reconsider its ties” to the monarchy now that there’s a new sovereign.
It also found that 67 per cent of respondents felt “indifferent” to Charles’s new role. Only 12 per cent said it’s “good news.”
About 80 per cent of respondents said they’re not “personally attached” to the monarchy.
Any changes to Canada’s ties to the monarchy would require a unanimous decision of the provinces, the House of Commons and the Senate — and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said there’s no appetite for a debate about scrapping the monarchy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kate McKenna is a senior reporter with CBC News. She is based in the parliamentary bureau. email@example.com.
Follow Kate on TwitterWith files from Lauren Sproule, Erin Boudreau and John Paul Tasker