King Charles III has cancer.
Buckingham Palace announced today that doctors found an unspecified malignancy as they treated the monarch for an enlarged prostate just over a week ago. The cancer is elsewhere in his body and is not of the prostate.
In response, according to the statement, “His Majesty has today commenced a schedule of regular treatments” and will “postpone public-facing duties.” However, he will continue with his official business and office work as usual. According to the BBC, no further details are being shared on the stage of cancer or its prognosis.
The palace statement adds that the king “remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible.” He chose 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.”
My fifth thought should have been my first
My first thought upon seeing today’s announcement was one of shock. I knew that the king had been hospitalized earlier, but I wasn’t expecting news like this.
My second thought was that we are all mortal. The king’s news comes the day before the anniversary of his mother’s ascension to the throne in 1952 after the death of her father, King George VI. His daughter-in-law, Kate Middleton, is recovering from recent surgery; Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, was diagnosed recently with malignant melanoma.
Monarchs, like the rest of us, “do not know what tomorrow will bring” (James 4:14).
My fourth thought was to wonder how William and Harry are responding to the news. William was set to return to official duties Wednesday following his wife’s surgery; Harry is no longer a working member of the royal family and lives in California, though he will travel to the UK to see his father in the coming days. They are in very different emotional and relational positions with their father and each other.
Here’s my confession: only after going through this mental progression did I stop to consider what this news must be like for King Charles and his wife and to pray for them. I should have started there, but I didn’t.
“The measure of a man’s love for God”
There’s something about our culture that commodifies celebrities.
We see people in the news differently than we see people in our everyday lives. Judging from what passes for political discourse these days, many Americans clearly feel the freedom to use words about our leaders and candidates we would (hopefully) not say to each other. We treat athletes, movie and music stars, and other prominent figures as though their public status makes them fair game for abuse. Our distance from them insulates us from the consequences of our mistreatment.
Or so we think.
As a wise mentor advised me years ago, a good test of character is to see how we treat people we don’t have to treat well. In such moments, we discover whether we truly love others as we are loved by our Lord.
St. Diadochus was born around 400 and served as the bishop of Photiki in northern Greece. In 451, he took part in the Fourth Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, one of the most significant councils in Christian history. It is assumed that he died before 486.
In his treatise “On Spiritual Perfection,” Diadochus writes:
Whoever is in love with himself is unable to love God. The man who loves God is the one who abandons his self-love for the sake of the immeasurable blessings of divine love. Such a man never seeks his own glory but only the glory of God. If a person loves himself he seeks his own glory, but the man who loves God loves the glory of his Creator.
He then adds: “Anyone who loves God in the depths of his heart has already been loved by God. In fact, the measure of a man’s love for God depends upon how deeply aware he is of God’s love for him.”
How “deeply aware” of God’s love are you?
“King of the ages, immortal, invisible”
Please join me in taking a moment to pray for King Charles III, Queen Camilla, their family, and all those affected by today’s news. Ask Jesus to be the king’s Great Physician as he guides human physicians and works medically and even miraculously.
And pray for God to redeem today’s news by using it to remind us that there is truly only one “King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God” (1 Timothy 1:17).
Would he say he is your king today?