Gross Jokes Blaming Meghan Markle & Princess Diana For King Charles' Cancer Need To Stop

These days, it's really no surprise when the internet takes things a bit too far. Yet, the recent news of King Charles III's cancer diagnosis seems to have opened the floodgates for some particularly dark humor. This often happens when famous and controversial figures run into hardships. But, making fun of a cancer diagnosis, treating it like a death sentence, and roping in family members, both living and dead, just doesn't feel quite right. And, no — that doesn't change if you don't like Charles.

There's been quite a bit of drama surrounding the royal family over the past few years, and Charles tends to be at the center of it. His difficult relationship with his son and daughter-in-law, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, is of course, far from the first very public family drama he's been involved with. His rocky marriage and subsequent divorce from Princess Diana made waves in the public eye decades ago. While much of the ins and outs of these personal relationships were never at the disposal of the public, a multitude of narratives have always existed around them. Folks have run with what they think is going on and who they think was in the wrong all along. And, these opinions are bubbling to the surface in the wake of Charles' tough diagnosis. 

The internet is full of King Charles cancer jokes

If you've been anywhere near X, formerly known as Twitter, since news of King Charles III's cancer diagnosis broke, then you've probably seen a cringey tweet or two ... or 10 ... about the situation. Despite the fact that Buckingham Palace hasn't gotten specific about the type or stage of cancer Charles has, many tweets have poked fun at the king's death being imminent and soon. Many have also roped in his late ex-wife, Princess Diana, Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle, implying that they're all rejoicing over the health crisis or even had some sort of supernatural hand in causing it. 

One tweet read, "King Charles waited his entire life to be king just to be diagnosed with Cancer a year after he's crowned. That's for Princess Diana;" others, like this one, suggest that Diana is in heaven laughing at the news. Another tweet read, "... seeing "meghan markle has obv performed witchcraft & psychic attacks upon beloved king charles to give him cancer" laid me out on the floor so bad i haven't been able to breathe for five minutes." As this tweet shows, much of the discourse and jokes surrounding Charles' diagnosis have been downright bizarre. But, people who the public thinks harbor a vendetta against the king aren't the only ones getting pulled into the speculation. Some tweets, like this one, imply that William is celebrating a possible impending rise to the throne.

We should be wary about how we talk about cancer

Plenty of people aren't fans of King Charles III, or even the monarchy as a whole, and many are using this fact to justify the dark humor surrounding Charles' diagnosis. But, this attitude isn't the right way to look at this disease. Cancer Research UK reports that almost one in two people in the U.K. will get cancer at some point in their lifetime. And, as plenty of other social media netizens have pointed out, getting a timely cancer diagnosis and treatment is much more difficult for the average person than it is for a member of the royal family. 

One X user put it well — so well, in fact, that their tweet garnered nearly 15,000 likes within 24 hours of being posted. The tweet read, "the royal family won't see your cancer jokes but your friends who have people in their family who suffer/have suffered with cancer will." In the statement announcing Charles' diagnosis, Buckingham Palace wrote (via Associated Press) that their transparency came with "the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer." It's safe to assume that the other noted reason, "to prevent speculation," was more of a driving force here. Even so, it's worth considering how many people get a cancer diagnosis and how mocking that moment and treating it like a certain sign of imminent death is untrue, dangerous, and hurtful.