King Charles, Prince William abruptly cancel several royal engagements

King Charles III and Prince William have abruptly cancelled a series of royal engagements this week.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement the pair would likely continue to postpone scheduled outings “which may appear to divert attention or distract from the election campaign.”

It comes as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Rishi Sunak called a surprise general election, which is scheduled July 4.

As a result, more than a month out from the election, Charles pulled the pin on his attendance at an event on May 23, local time, as well as two slated for May 24.

William, for his part, also cancelled an outing he had scheduled for this week.

“The Royal Family will — in accordance with normal procedure — postpone engagements that may appear to divert attention or distract from the election campaign,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement, per Tatler.

“Their Majesties send their sincere apologies to any of those who may be affected as a result.”

It is usual for the British royal family, who maintain an apolitical stance, to limit outings ahead of an election.

However, it also comes amid a turbulent time for the royals, with Charles and Catherine, Princess of Wales, both battling cancer and having scaled back their public appearances in recent months.

In February, the Palace shared Charles had been diagnosed with an unspecified cancer after undergoing a “routine hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement.”

He stepped back to undergo treatment before returning to work April 30.

Meanwhile, Catherine is yet to return to her role full-time after having abdominal surgery in January. She last attended a royal engagement on Christmas Day.

Following rampant conspiracy theories circulating about her whereabouts in the wake of her mystery procedure, as well as controversy over a Photoshopped image of the Princess released on Mother’s Day, the mother-of-three shared an emotional video in March announcing she had cancer.

“In January, I underwent major abdominal surgery in London and at the time, it was thought that my condition was non-cancerous. The surgery was successful,” she said.

“However, tests after the operation found cancer had been present. My medical team therefore advised that I should undergo a course of preventive chemotherapy and I am now in the early stages of that treatment.”

Weeks before the release of the video, William had made the “very odd” decision to skip out on a high profile royal memorial service at the last minute, attributing his absence to a “personal matter”, which was later confirmed to be because he learned of his wife’s cancer diagnosis.

The headline-making cancellation had been considered a trigger behind the global furore over Catherine’s whereabouts.

“As you can imagine, this has taken time,” Catherine added in the video.

“It has taken me time to recover from major surgery in order to start my treatment. But, most importantly, it has taken us time to explain everything to George, Charlotte and Louis in a way that is appropriate for them, and to reassure them that I am going to be OK.”

A typically busy summer season is looming for the royals, including events such as Trooping the Colour, Royal Ascot and Garter Day, all of which members of the royal family are still expected to attend.

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