Australia is planning for a "possible" visit by King Charles III this year, the prime minister said Monday, despite the British monarch's recent cancer diagnosis.

It would be Charles' first trip to Australia as sovereign, though he made 15 official visits as prince over nearly six decades.

"Australia is preparing for a possible visit from his majesty the king to Australia later this year," Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said.

"The king has shown his compassion for Australians affected by recent natural disasters, just as Australians have shown compassion and support for the King following his cancer diagnosis," the Australian leader said.

Under Australia's constitution, the monarch of former colonial power Britain remains the country's official head of state.

Albanese said the federal government was engaging with state governments and territories on options for the visit.

Charles most recently visited Australia to open the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018.

He first visited in the 1960s when he spent two terms as an exchange student at the exclusive Geelong Grammar School near Melbourne.

The king announced last month that he had been diagnosed with cancer, just 17 months into his reign following the death of his 96-year-old mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in September 2022.