King Charles was ‘like a friend’ to cancer patient on hospital visit

Linda Klinger met the monarch during his first public appearance since his own cancer diagnosis


King Charles III speaks to patient Linda Klinger during a visit to the University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre (Photo: Getty Images)

When Linda Klinger arrived at the University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre on Tuesday, she had no idea she was in for some royal treatment.

But as the 81-year-old was waiting to receive chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, King Charles came over to chat.

“I was in a line of people who were all nursing staff, so when he saw me with my hand with the bandage and cannula on it, he stopped and asked me if I was a patient,” said Linda.

“He put his hand on my shoulder, and I felt really warm toward him – I called him ‘Charles’. I felt like he was a friend.”

During the monarch’s first public appearance since his cancer diagnosis was announced in February, King Charles and Queen Camilla were visiting the UCH Macmillan Cancer Centre in London to meet patients and staff and to raise awareness about the importance of early testing and diagnosis.

“I told him I was having treatment and I asked him how he was. He said he was doing well. He said he was getting there,” Linda told the JC.

Describing the King as “really sweet”, Linda added: “He asked me: ‘How are you getting on? Are they looking after you?’ I automatically patted him on the shoulder as well, and he held my hand for quite a long time. It was really, really lovely.”

She added that she felt “a lot of compassion” for the monarch and “found him very easy to talk to. He was very, very warm. I was so surprised that he was so lovely and gentle. I was just so comfortable in his presence.”

King Charles, who was last week appointed patron of Cancer Research UK, was aiming to highlight some of the innovative research, supported by the charity, which is taking place at the hospital.

The King and Queen were greeted by the chair of University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Rabbi Julia Neuberger, and the trust’s chief executive, David Probert.

Rabbi Neuberger, who is the former senior rabbi at West London Synagogue, said the visit was “fantastic” and the royal couple had received an “absolutely rousing cheer from patients and staff” when they arrived.

“It was amazing to have him talking so much to patients and obviously giving them a lot of time, and our staff were over the moon,” the rabbi said.

She added that both Charles and Camilla had been “absolutely enchanting”, noting that when the pair were presented with posies from two children who are patients at the centre, the royal couple gave the children carrier bags with gifts in return. “[It was] very touching,” said Rabbi Neuberger.

Linda, who lives in Mill Hill, northwest London, with her husband Michael, said she had “no idea at all” that the King was due to drop by. She called the meeting “serendipity” as the visit took place on the day of her last chemotherapy treatment at the centre.

Describing how emotional she felt after her encounter, Linda said: “I’ve been going there for treatment for a lot of the last 12 years, so I’m not a new patient – and it’s the nicest thing that’s happened to me after 12 years of going there. [The meeting] was an outlet for my feelings.”

Linda was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2011 and has been a patient at the Macmillan Cancer Centre since it opened in 2012.

She said she had experienced short periods of remission, but that the cancer had returned each time.

Although her chemotherapy treatment at the Macmillan Cancer Centre is over, she will soon be switching to a course of radiotherapy at a different clinic.

Linda said: “I don’t feel good most of the time – most of the time, I’m very tired, but I do get on with each day and we make a point of going out for a coffee and going shopping to try to lead a normal life as much as we can.” 

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