The royal couple drove up to the Macmillan Center late in the morning and waved to onlookers with a smile. At the facility where cancer is diagnosed and treated, Charles III shook. numerous hands and chatted with members of the nursing staff and patients. He sat with several patients, talked to them and held their hands. Children who presented flowers to the king received a gift in return.

The royal visit lasted about 40 minutes. “His Majesty did his utmost to meet as many staff and patients as possible,” said the hospital’s director, David Probert, following the “incredibly inspiring visit.” The patients were “delighted,” he told Sky News.

With his first public appearance since it was announced that he was suffering from cancer, the king wanted to highlight the importance of early detection and modern research in the fight against the disease. The 75-year-old is a patron of the British charity Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support. His 76-year-old wife Camilla is president of Maggie’s, another charity for cancer patients.

Charles III had made his cancer public at the beginning of February. She was diagnosed with an enlarged prostate following surgery, but Palace says it is not prostate cancer. It is not known what type of cancer he suffered from.

After the diagnosis, the monarch initially suspended his public appointments. However, he attended small-scale appointments, such as weekly meetings with the Prime Minister.

On Friday, the palace said that thanks to encouraging progress in his recovery, the king could attend public appointments again in close consultation with his doctors. However, it is too early to say how long the king’s cancer treatment will last. In March, Charles’ daughter-in-law Princess Kate announced that she too had cancer. She hasn’t appeared in public for months.