King Charles III has made his first public comments since his shock cancer diagnosis.
The monarch, who is recuperating in a royal residence in England’s east after a first bout of treatment said how “how sorry” he was for not being able to attend a major event.
The King’s statement comes after William, Prince of Wales, returned to public duties following his wife Catherine’s’ hospitalisation last month.
He appeared at an event joshing with actor Tom Cruise to support the London Air Ambulance service.
The King’s public statement was directed to the people of Grenada, a Caribbean nation which, like Australia, retains Charles as the head of state.
This week is its 50th anniversary of independence from the United Kingdom.
“I can only say how sorry I am that I cannot be with you in person to mark this momentous milestone, and to enjoy a little oil down with you all!,” wrote Charles referencing oil down, a salted meat and vegetable stew which is a Grenadian staple.
Charles and Camilla, then the Prince and Princess of Wales, visited the island nation in 2019.
He said he had “special memories” of that visit.
“My thoughts are with everyone across Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique – ‘one people, one family’ – as you celebrate everything you have achieved and all that your future holds.
“My family join me in sending our heartfelt congratulations to you all.”
The King’s form of cancer has not been disclosed.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said it had been “caught early”. Buckingham Palace has said while Charles will set back from public gatherings he will still perform his constitutional duties has head of state and will meet, in person, regularly with the PM.
Prince William has addressed his family’s current health struggles, joking at a charity event in London that he needs to “get away from it all.”
The Prince of Wales made the remark during his speech at a gala dinner in support of London’s Air Ambulance charity.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you, also, for the kind messages of support for Catherine and for my father, especially in recent days – it means a great deal to us all,” he told guests.
“It’s fair to say the past few weeks have had a rather ‘medical’ focus … So I thought I’d come to an air ambulance function to get away from it all!”
William served as an air ambulance pilot in East Anglia, in England’s east, and has been patron of the organisation since 2020.
Among those in the audience on Wednesday was one of the charity’s most high-profile supporters, Tom Cruise, who was targeted by William in a joke about his famous sky-high film stunts.
“Here in London, the current aircraft have served magnificently. But our capital city needs a new fleet … By September, we need the two new red birds – decked with the latest kit such as night vision – in our skies,” the prince said.
“I should also take this opportunity to give a mention to my – our – fellow pilot, Tom Cruise. “Tom, huge thanks for supporting us tonight … and if you wouldn’t mind not borrowing either of the new helicopters for the next Mission: Impossible, it would be appreciated.
“We have all seen on our screens that – how can I put it? – you seem to have a different take on ‘normal wear and tear’ to the rest of us … It’s not the kind that buffs out, that’s for sure.”
William’s appearance at the gala coincided with his estranged brother’s departure from the UK, after a whirlwind visit from his new home in California.
Prince Harry reportedly spent less than an hour with his father on Wednesday, after making a solo dash across the Atlantic as news of the monarch’s cancer diagnosis broke.