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King Charles III diagnosed with cancer; church leaders offer prayers

Britain's King Charles III wearing the Imperial state Crown, waves from the Buckingham Palace balcony after viewing the Royal Air Force fly-past in central London on May 6, 2023, after his coronation. - The set-piece coronation is the first in Britain in 70 years and only the second in history to be televised. Charles will be the 40th reigning monarch to be crowned at the central London church since King William I in 1066.
Britain's King Charles III wearing the Imperial state Crown, waves from the Buckingham Palace balcony after viewing the Royal Air Force fly-past in central London on May 6, 2023, after his coronation. - The set-piece coronation is the first in Britain in 70 years and only the second in history to be televised. Charles will be the 40th reigning monarch to be crowned at the central London church since King William I in 1066. | OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

Buckingham Palace has announced that King Charles III of the United Kingdom has been diagnosed with cancer less than a year after his coronation, drawing reactions from church leaders. 

Although it was not clear where the cancer is located, Buckingham Palace said in a statement Monday that cancer was discovered during a "procedure for benign prostate enlargement." The Palace has clarified that Charles doesn't have prostate cancer. 

Charles has begun regular treatments and has been advised to postpone "public-facing duties" but will continue to "undertake State business and official paperwork as usual."

Charles was coronated last May following the death of Queen Elizabeth in September 2022. As king, Charles also serves as supreme governor of the Church of England.

Christian leaders took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to offer prayers and well-wishes. 

"I'm praying for the King and his family — for God's comfort and strength in the weeks and months to come. I wish His Majesty a swift and full recovery," wrote Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury and most senior cleric in the Church of England. 

Archbishop of York Stephen Geoffrey Cottrell said he is "praying for His Majesty the King and all the Royal Family." 

"May he and all who suffer with cancer know the healing presence of God's love," he wrote

"Praying for His Majesty for his treatment and the Royal family as they support him," echoed Bishop of London Sarah Elisabeth Mullally. 

Roman Catholic Cardinal Vincent Gerard Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, expressed his sadness. 

"On behalf of the entire Catholic Community in England and Wales, I offer His Majesty our warmest wishes and assurance of steadfast prayers for his full and speedy recovery. God bless the King," Nichols wrote

Charles became the 40th reigning monarch to be crowned at Westminster Abbey in a May 2023 service interspersed with hymns, Bible readings and liturgy underpinned by Christ's call to serve.

In the May service, Welby preached a sermon saying the ceremony was to "crown a king to serve."  

"What is given today is for the gain of all. For Jesus Christ announced a Kingdom in which the poor and oppressed are freed from the chains of injustice. The blind see. The bruised and broken-hearted are healed," Welby said. 

"That Kingdom sets the aims of all righteous government, all authority. And the Kingdom also sets the means of all government and authority. For Jesus doesn't grasp power or hold onto status."

During the coronation service, Charles swore to do everything in his power to "maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel" in his governance.

This past Sunday, Charles could be seen at a church service with his wife, Queen Camilla, at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Norfolk.

Nicole Alcindor is a reporter for The Christian Post. 

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