What Happens if King Charles cancer, as King Charles begins cancer treatment, doubts have arisen regarding what happens if he becomes unable to carry out his duties, and whether a stand-in for him would have the same authority in Canada.
On Monday, Buckingham Palace authorities confirmed that Charles had cancer and will receive outpatient treatment in London. Officials have not revealed any additional information, although British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told the BBC on Tuesday that the disease was “caught early”.
What Happens if King Charles Cancer Diagnosis Leaves Him Incapacitated and Unable to Carry Out Royal Duties?
The 75-year-old king will not undertake public duties while receiving medical treatment. However, he will continue to convene private meetings and undertake official work, including granting royal assent to laws and signing official documents, according to a palace statement.
If King becomes too ill to do his duties, royal officials and the British government have several choices.
Under Britain’s Regency Act, the King can temporarily assign duties to state counselors. These obligations include representing the queen overseas and at formal functions, chairing Privy Council meetings, and providing royal assent.
The current Councillors of State are Queen Camilla, Prince William, Prince Harry, Prince Andrew, and Princess Beatrice. Prince Harry and Prince Andrew are no longer working royals, therefore King Charles added his siblings Princess Anne and Prince Edward to the list.
Delegating to state counselors is a pretty typical procedure. When King Charles was Prince of Wales, he frequently filled in for his mother, Queen Elizabeth, when she was unable to travel outside of the country or attend key occasions such as Parliament’s opening ceremony.
If the King is disabled for an extended period, the Regency Act empowers the heir to the throne to serve as regent. Currently, this would imply that Prince William would assume practically all of his father’s royal duties, except not being able to grant royal assent to legislation that altered the line of succession or the function of the Presbyterian Church in Scotland.
If Charles recovered, the regency would cease and the King would reclaim his authority.
The last regent was chosen in 1811 when Parliament expressed concern about King George III’s mental condition. A special statute was drafted to confer the regency on his eldest son, George, the Prince of Wales. He served as Regent until 1820 when his father died and George became King George IV.
The Regency Act was passed in 1937 to codify the process of delegating royal powers. However, the law only applies to Britain, and a regent would not automatically have authority over the King’s other 14 realms, including Canada.
In 1947, the governor-general of Canada was granted complete monarchical powers through a legal instrument known as a letters patent. This was done so that the Canadian government could function in the absence of a king or queen.
If Charles were unable to rule, the Governor-General would continue to grant royal assent and carry out other royal duties in Canada. However, if Prince William becomes regent, it is unclear who will have authority over the Governor-General.
Scholars have debated whether the 1947 letters patent included transferring “the power to appoint a successor governor-general, and critically, to remove the governor-general, being the two remaining powers of the sovereign that might need to be exercised during a regency.
According to Anne Twomey, a constitutional law professor at the University of Sydney in Australia. “As issues concerning succession, abdication, and regency have rarely arisen in living memory, when they do so there is often a lack of institutional knowledge about how to deal with them.”
Craig Prescott, a law lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London, is drafting a book about the Regency Act, which will include a chapter on how the law would apply in other areas.
Regency “is not something that happens very often, and it’s something we try to avoid,” he said in an interview Tuesday.
The United States and Canada will “have to work out whether the Regency Act applies or whether they need to just pass a short act of Parliament to recognize the authority of the regent.”
As speculation about his health persisted, Charles was sighted on Tuesday leaving Clarence House for Buckingham Palace, where he and Queen Camilla traveled by helicopter to the royal retreat in Sandringham, Norfolk.
There has been conjecture that the King’s condition may assist in mending the family’s shattered connections, particularly between Prince Harry and his brother, Prince William.
Prince Harry arrived alone in London on Tuesday and was pictured driving to Clarence House. It’s unclear how long he’ll be in Britain or whether he’ll meet with Prince William.