King Charles 'wholly positive' after cancer diagnosis, Buckingham Palace says

With his reign still in its infancy, the UK's 75-year-old King Charles has been diagnosed with cancer.   

Buckingham Palace has not disclosed what type of cancer or how far it has spread - only that it is not prostate cancer and that he is stepping back from public duties for now.  

He is said to be "wholly positive" about his treatment ahead - which has already started in London, where he is being treated as an outpatient.   

It is the first time the palace has ever shared such a sensitive and potentially serious diagnosis about a senior member of the royal family.   

And the news is bringing the entire family back together. 

Fresh from his hospital release, the King was up, out and about and attending church in Sandringham on Sunday. 

But now prayers around the world are being dedicated to his speedy recovery, and it could be months before he is seen in public again. 

The diagnosis came just days after surgery for an enlarged prostate.  

Last Monday, the King left the hospital after three nights - with a smile, a wave and a few weeks of recovery written in the royal calendar. He appeared as well as could be expected.   

But, in a statement, the Palace confirmed on Tuesday (NZ time) a separate area of concern was identified during the King's surgery - cancer. 

The news came after King Charles personally informed each of his family members - including Princes Andrew and Harry. 

Despite years of very public feuding, Prince Harry - King Charles' youngest son - is now flying back to the UK from California to be with his father. Prince Harry will be without his wife Meghan and their children.   

As heir to the throne, Prince William will step forward on extra duties - despite currently being on his own period of leave to support Princess Kate after her abdominal surgery.   

It is less than nine months since King Charles III stood on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with his freshly-fitted crown. The 75-year-old monarch had vowed to follow the example of his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth.

But he has chosen to be much more open about his health.  

The well wishes have been sent swiftly from his friends in high places, including US President Joe Biden.  

"[I'm] concerned about him," Biden said. [I] just heard his diagnosis - I'll be talking to him, God willing." 

Commonwealth countries also sent their well wishes. 

"Kia kaha King Charles, on behalf of all Kiwis I wish his majesty all the very best for a speedy recovery," New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said.

King Charles will continue his duties behind palace doors - including his weekly meetings with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. 

"The King will continue to do the business of government," historian Paul Brand said. "He will be working, reading the red boxes but, the difference is, he will not be performing the public duties of the monarchy."