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Kate, the Princess of Wales, receiving treatment for cancer

March 23, 2024

Catherine, Britain's Princess of Wales, says she is undergoing preventative chemotherapy after medical tests revealed the presence of cancer. She was hospitalized in January for abdominal surgery.

Catherine, Britain's Princess of Wales, sitting on wooden bench in garden
Kate, Britain's Princess of Wales, says that she is undergoing preventative chemotherapy treatmentImage: BBC Studios/dpa/picture alliance

Catherine, Britain's Princess of Wales, said on Friday she is undergoing preventative chemotherapy after medical tests revealed the presence of cancer.

The video announcement comes after she was hospitalized in January for abdominal surgery.

Cancer diagnosis followed hospitalization

Kensington Palace at the time said that Catherine's condition was not cancer-related.

The princess had not been seen publicly since Christmas until a video surfaced of her with her husband, Prince William, walking to a shop near their home in Windsor.

Her absence from public view sparked weeks of speculation about her condition.

A photo released by Kensington Palace after her hospitalization was retracted by news organizations after they found it had been altered.

In her Friday video announcement, Catherine said that while her medical team initially thought that her condition was non-cancerous, tests taken after her surgery revealed the presence of cancer.

She said the discovery was "a huge shock," but she was "well and getting stronger every day."

"William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family," she said.

She said that her family needed to be given "time, space and privacy" as she completes her treatment.

Last month, Britain's royal family announced that King Charles III was being treated for an unspecified type of cancer.

Charles 'proud' of Catherine, while Harry and Meghan wish healing 

Buckingham Palace said King Charles III was proud of Princess Catherine for her courage in making her announcement.

It said Charles has remained in close contact with his daughter-in-law over the last few weeks.

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle responded to Catherine’s video in a statement that was published several hours after the Princess of Wales opened up about her cancer diagnosis.

Princess of Wales reveals cancer diagnosis: Charlotte Chelsom-Pill from London

“We wish health and healing for Kate and the family, and hope they are able to do so privately and in peace,” the statement of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex read.

Harry and Meghan are no longer working royals and moved to California in 2020. According to royal experts, Harry and his brother William, Prince of Wales and Catherine’s husband, have not spoken to each other in months.

The Duke of Sussex visited his father, King Charles III, in London last month, after the 75-year-old also made his cancer diagnosis public. 

Other reactions

Following the announcement, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that Catherine had been unfairly treated by media outlets.

"The Princess of Wales has the love and support of the whole country as she continues her recovery," Sunak said.

"She has shown tremendous bravery with her statement today. In recent weeks she has been subjected to intense scrutiny and has been unfairly treated by certain sections of the media around the world and on social media," he said.

"When it comes to matters of health, like everyone else, she must be afforded the privacy to focus on her treatment and be with her loving family."

Labour Party leader Keir Stamer said Kate had the love and support of the entire UK.

"I am heartened by The Princess of Wales' optimistic tone and her message of faith and hope," Starmer said.

"Her Royal Highness will be in our thoughts and prayers as she progresses through her treatment with the love and support of not just her whole family, but the whole nation too."

Meanwhile, the White House wished the princess a full recovery.

"All of us just heard the terrible news. Our thoughts are with the Duchess of Cambridge and her family," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

"Certainly we wish her a full recovery. And I think it's important that we respect their privacy, especially at the time."

A few hours later, the President of the US Joe Biden reached out personally over the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, to send well-wishes for the Princess of Wales.

“Jill [First Lady of the US and wife of Joe Biden] and I join millions around the world in praying for your full recovery, Princess Kate," Biden wrote in the statement. 

French President Emmanuel Macron also reached out to the Princess of Wales on the social media platform X.

He commented under the video, "Your Highness, In this difficult period you are going through, Brigitte [wife of Emmanuel Macron] and I wish you a full recovery. Your strength and resilience inspire us all."

sdi/sms (AFP, Reuters, AP)