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Inside Amner Hall: Kate and William’s retreat where they will focus on family during cancer fight

The Princess of Wales has repeated her request for privacy as her family retreat after weeks of lurid speculation over her health culminated in the shocking revelation of her cancer diagnosis.

In a heartfelt video message released on Friday evening, Kate said it had been an “incredibly tough couple of months” for her family as she disclosed that she was in the early stages of “preventative chemotherapy” and asked for “time, space and privacy” while she completed her treatment.

The 42-year-old spoke of her “huge shock” as she explained that she underwent major abdominal surgery on 14 January for a condition that was believed to be non-cancerous, but subsequent tests identified the disease.

The Princess of Wales has repeated her request for privacy as her family retreat after weeks of lurid speculation over her health culminated in the shocking revelation of her cancer diagnosis (BBC Studios via AP)
The Princess of Wales has repeated her request for privacy as her family retreat after weeks of lurid speculation over her health culminated in the shocking revelation of her cancer diagnosis (BBC Studios via AP)

As messages of support flooded in from across the world, a fresh statement was issued by Kensington Palace the following night, saying Kate and Prince William are “enormously touched” by the well-wishers and are “grateful for the understanding of their request for privacy at this time”.

The royal couple chose to share the news once their three children – Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5 – began their Easter school holidays to shield them from intense coverage of their mother’s health.

The form of cancer has not been disclosed but Kate is said to have a positive mindset over her recovery and is in good spirits, describing herself as “well and getting stronger every day”.

The announcement may go some way to ending weeks of intense speculation and conspiracy theories about the whereabouts and health of the princess.

Kate has told her three children Charlotte, Louis and George about her illness (Reuters)
Kate has told her three children Charlotte, Louis and George about her illness (Reuters)

The five are believed to be retreating to Amner Hall in Norfolk, which was a wedding present to the Waleses from the Queen, to focus on their young family as the princess convalesces.

The Georgian country house, which is part of the Sandringham Estate in the village of Anmer, is one of a number of properties that the Prince and Princess of Wales have at their disposal across England.

The young family relocated to Adelaide Cottage, a Grade II-listed four-bedroom house just a 10-minute walk from Windsor Castle, in autumn 2022.

Before settling there, the royal couple had been living at an apartment in London’s Kensington Palace since the birth of their first son.

As Kate and her family take time away from the public eye during her treatment, we take a look at where the five will be finding sanctuary, as well as the family’s other homes.

Anmer Hall

Anmer Hall, the Prince and Princess of Wales’s 10-bedroom country retreat, was a gift to the couple from the Queen following their wedding (PA)
Anmer Hall, the Prince and Princess of Wales’s 10-bedroom country retreat, was a gift to the couple from the Queen following their wedding (PA)

Anmer Hall, the Prince and Princess of Wales’s 10-bedroom country retreat, was a gift to the couple from the Queen following their wedding and is said to be where their young family will call home during Kate’s recovery from cancer.

A royal aide told The Sunday Times that the five want to get away over the Easter holidays and “close off from the world and move on” together.

The secluded red brick Georgian mansion sits on the monarch’s vast, private Sandringham estate in Norfolk and is a short drive from Sandringham House.

Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis (C), accompanied by their parents the Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (Getty Images)
Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis (C), accompanied by their parents the Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (Getty Images)

Kate oversaw the major renovations, including the conversion of wood stores into accommodation for the nanny and the creation of a garden room.

The Duchess was dubbed “three kitchens Kate” after it was reported that a new kitchen was to be installed in place of the £50,000 designer one already there, with the family already having two kitchens at Kensington Palace.

The bolt hole, which had a swimming pool and a tennis court, was given a £500,000 new roof, as well as a garden room, re-landscaped front driveway and new nursery for Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

The renovations, said to come to £1.5m, were paid for mostly from the royal family’s private funds.

Kensington Palace Apartment 1A

The royal couple’s central London home, Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace, used to belong to Princess Margaret, and remains their official working residence (PA)
The royal couple’s central London home, Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace, used to belong to Princess Margaret, and remains their official working residence (PA)

The royal couple’s central London home, Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace, used to belong to Princess Margaret, and remains their official working residence.

It was refurbished at a cost of £4.5m to the taxpayer with a new roof and electrics, and the removal of asbestos. It has some 20 rooms and a large, private walled garden.

The Cambridges added a second kitchen, wanting a private family one in addition to the existing 350 sq ft kitchen.

Before William and Kate moved to “KP” in 2013, royal aides insisted it would remain their main home for “many, many years to come”.

A royal spokesman said at the time: “This is the Duke and Duchess’s one and only official residence.

“It is here that they plan to stay for many, many years to come.”

Adelaide Cottage

A sketch of Adelaide Cottage in 1839 (Caleb Robert Stanley)
A sketch of Adelaide Cottage in 1839 (Caleb Robert Stanley)

The Grade II listed four-bed house in Windsor’s private Home Park is William and Kate’s newest home.

Owned by the Crown Estate, the Duke and Duchess will pay market rent on the picturesque historic building, which is close to Windsor Castle.

It was built in 1831 for Queen Adelaide as a summer retreat and used to be the grace and favour home of Peter Townsend, whose love affair with Princess Margaret rocked the monarchy in the 1950s.

Tam-Na-Ghar

The Prince of Wales and his sons William, 15, and Harry, 12, take an early morning walk along the banks of the River Dee on the Balmoral estate in 1997 (PA)
The Prince of Wales and his sons William, 15, and Harry, 12, take an early morning walk along the banks of the River Dee on the Balmoral estate in 1997 (PA)

It had long been reported that William had been given a cottage called Tam-Na-Ghar by the Queen Mother on the Balmoral estate, but William does not lease or own the house – it is owned by the Crown Estate and leased to a third party, Kensington Palace said.

While dating, university flatmates William and Kate spent romantic weekends at the three-bedroom former gamekeeper’s house and Kate was taught to shoot and fish.

The remote Highland retreat is reportedly close to Birkhall and used by the Cambridge family as a holiday home if travelling to Balmoral in the summer.