The Royal Family's support of cancer charities

Many members of The Royal Family have a longstanding relationship with organisations which support research into cancer and help those living with the condition.

The Prince of Wales, patron of Marie Curie, meets staff during a visit to a Marie Curie Hospice in Belfast in 2022.

The King, when he was The Prince of Wales, became Patron of Macmillan Cancer Support, which provides medical and financial support to cancer sufferers and promotes better cancer care. 

The Prince of Wales talks with cancer patient Mrs Carol Sealey and her husband Steve, during a tour of the new Macmillan Cancer Support unit in the University College Hospital, in central London in 2013.

In 1999, as Macmillan launched their 'A Voice for Life' campaign, His Majesty (as The Prince of Wales) said:

Cancer is not one disease but 200 different diseases, some serious, some not so serious. We all know that when we break a huge problem down into manageable pieces it begins to appear less daunting.

The Duchess of Cornwall talks with cancer patient Mrs Carol Sealey and her husband Steve, during a tour of the new Macmillan Cancer Support unit in the University College Hospital, in central London in 2013.

In 2021, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, The King (as The Prince of Wales) wrote an article for The Telegraph on the challenges faced by those with cancer, which read:

I have been proud to be patron of Macmillan Cancer Support and, during that time, I have met countless people whose lives have been touched by cancer. I never cease to be inspired by those who have tirelessly dedicated themselves to helping them. They seem to me to exemplify so many of the qualities that, in a time of great trial, are a cause for immense admiration and gratitude.

His Majesty also supports Marie Curie, which provides high-quality nursing care to terminally ill people at home.

The King visits Marie Curie

In 2021, The King (when he was The Prince of Wales) visited the Breast Cancer Now Toby Robins Research Centre at the Institute of Cancer Research London. His Majesty had officially opened it as the UK’s first dedicated breast cancer research centre, 21 years before.

The King visits Breast Cancer Now

Since 2008, The Queen has been President of Maggie's, an innovative charity which has built a number of centres in the UK and abroad to provide a supportive and caring environment for people with cancer.

The Queen opens Maggie's Royal Free in 2024

In 2021, to mark 25 years of the charity, Her Majesty said:

Maggie’s is welcoming, friendly and non-institutional, supporting people from the moment they ask for help, free of charge, and unconditionally for as long as help is needed... To me, that sounds like a description of a perfect friend. And, of course, Maggie’s centres are perfect friends to everyone who enters their doors.

The Queen visits Maggies

Since 2007, The Prince of Wales has been President of The Royal Marsden, a position previously held by his mother. 

In 2017, to mark 10 years of being President of The Royal Marsden, The Prince of Wales (when he was The Duke of Cambridge) visited the Radiotherapy Department and Oak Centre for Children and Young People. 

The Prince of Wales visits The Royal Marsden

His Royal Highness visited the UK’s first Magnetic Resonance Linear Accelerator (MR Linac) and spent time in the Oak Centre for Children and Young People, which he officially opened with The Princess of Wales (as The Duchess of Cambridge) in 2011.

The Prince and Princess of Wales visit The Royal Marsden

Most recently in 2023, The Prince formally opened the state-of-the-art Oak Cancer Centre, funded by The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, a research and treatment facility that hopes to accelerate the development of new treatments for cancer patients worldwide.

The Prince of Wales visits The Royal Marsden

Other members of the Royal Family

  • The Princess Royal is Patron of Tenovus Cancer Care, which supports research and provides care and counselling services to cancer patients.
  • The Duke of Gloucester and Princess Alexandra are Joint Presidents of Cancer Research UK, a charity dedicated to funding cancer research and providing support for cancer patients.
  • The Duchess of Gloucester is Patron of Prostate Cancer UK, which raises awareness about prostate disease and supports research into treatment.
  • The Duke of Kent is Patron of Blood Cancer UK, a research charity devoted exclusively to leukaemia and associated medical conditions.