Prince of Wales appoints ex-diplomat as private secretary

The Prince of Wales has appointed a former government diplomat as his private secretary, as he returns to royal duties following his father's cancer diagnosis.

Ian Patrick, who has also worked for former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Paddy Ashdown, will take up the role, Kensington Palace said on Friday.

The prince resumed regular duties this week having taken time off to support his family, after the Princess of Wales underwent planned abdominal surgery and the King revealed his cancer diagnosis.

Prince William hosted an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle on Wednesday before attending London's Air Ambulance charity gala dinner later that evening.

It was announced on Monday that the King would be undergoing regular treatment for an unspecified cancer, found during his recent hospital stay for a procedure on an enlarged prostate.

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Mr Patrick worked under Lord Ashdown when he was in Bosnia from 2002 to 2006 before joining the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

He is also a trustee for Crohn's & Colitis UK, a charity for the two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease.

Earlier this week at the charity gala, Prince William gave a speech and again thanked everyone for "kind messages" following the health issues that have affected the Royal Family.

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With his father's diagnosis announced a week after his wife Kate, the Princess of Wales, returned home from abdominal surgery, William said the last few weeks have had a "medical focus".

"I'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you, also, for the kind messages of support for Catherine and for my father, especially in recent days," he added.