Kate Middleton Reveals She Has Cancer: ‘Huge Shock,’ Focused on ‘Full Recovery’

BBC Studios/Handout via Reuters
BBC Studios/Handout via Reuters

Kate Middleton is being treated for cancer, it was announced Friday. Kate made the admission herself in a video, saying she had initially thought her condition was non-cancerous, but discovered the truth after successful abdominal surgery in January and subsequent tests which revealed cancer—as yet of an unspecified kind—was present.

Kate said she was in the early stages of having preventive chemotherapy, which began in late February, and said she had needed to take time to explain her condition to her three children. It has been “an incredibly tough couple of months for our entire family, but I’ve had a fantastic medical team who have taken great care of me, for which I am so grateful,” Kate said.

Kensington Palace said Kate was on a “recovery pathway”; the princess herself said she was well “and getting stronger every day.” Kate added she was looking forward to returning to work, but for now must focus on her recovery.

“Please do not lose faith or hope, you are not alone,” Kate said, directly addressing fellow cancer sufferers. The video was recorded by BBC Studios on Wednesday in Windsor.

An official source said that Kate and husband Prince William had delayed making the announcement until today as they “wanted their young children to be out of school (their school Easter holidays started today) to shield them from the coverage of the news.”

In full, Kate’s video statement—posted at her and William’s X account—reads:

“I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you, personally, for all the wonderful messages of support and for your understanding whilst I have been recovering from surgery. It has been an incredibly tough couple of months for our entire family, but I’ve had a fantastic medical team who have taken great care of me, for which I am so grateful. In January, I underwent major abdominal surgery in London and at the time, it was thought that my condition was non-cancerous.

“The surgery was successful. However, tests after the operation found cancer had been present. My medical team therefore advised that I should undergo a course of preventative chemotherapy and I am now in the early stages of that treatment. This of course came as a huge shock, and William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family. As you can imagine, this has taken time.

“It has taken me time to recover from major surgery in order to start my treatment. But, most importantly, it has taken us time to explain everything to George, Charlotte and Louis in a way that is appropriate for them, and to reassure them that I am going to be OK. As I have said to them; I am well and getting stronger every day by focusing on the things that will help me heal—in my mind, body and spirits. Having William by my side is a great source of comfort and reassurance too. As is the love, support and kindness that has been shown by so many of you. It means so much to us both.

“We hope that you will understand that, as a family, we now need some time, space, and privacy while I complete my treatment. My work has always brought me a deep sense of joy and I look forward to being back when I am able, but for now I must focus on making a full recovery. At this time, I am also thinking of all those whose lives have been affected by cancer. For everyone facing this disease, in whatever form, please do not lose faith or hope. You are not alone.”

King Charles is “so proud of Catherine for her courage in speaking as she did,” a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said. Following their time in hospital together, Charles has “remained in the closest contact with his beloved daughter-in-law throughout the past weeks.” Both he and Queen Camilla “will continue to offer their love and support to the whole family through this difficult time,” the spokesperson added.

Kate’s brother James Middleton also voiced his support in an Instagram post on Friday. “Over the years, we have climbed many mountains together. As a family, we will climb this one with you too,” he wrote beneath a photo of the two as kids.

As regards the kind of cancer Kate has, and the stage it is at, a palace spokesperson said: “We will not be sharing any further private medical information. “The Princess has a right to medical privacy, as we all do.” The palace would not comment on the start and likely end dates of her treatment, or where she was receiving that treatment.

Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, accompanied by their parents Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, at Lambrook School, near Ascot in Berkshire, Britain, September 7, 2022.

Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, accompanied by their parents Prince William and Catherine, then Duchess of Cambridge, at Lambrook School, near Ascot in Berkshire, Britain, Sept. 7, 2022.

Jonathan Brady/Pool via Reuters

As to why the palace initially said her condition was non-cancerous, and is now saying it was, a spokesperson said: “The Princess of Wales underwent major abdominal surgery in January. At the time of surgery, it was thought that the condition was non-cancerous; no tests had confirmed the presence of cancer. The surgery was successful. However, post-operative tests subsequently found that cancer had been present.”

“The Princess will return to official duties when she is cleared to do so by her medical team. She is in good spirits and is focused on making a full recovery,” Kensington Palace said Friday. Prince William “will continue to balance supporting his wife and family and maintaining his official duties as he has done since the start of the year.”

The bombshell announcement followed a turbulent beginning of 2024 for the royals, with the news of Charles’ cancer diagnosis and the weeks of speculation and conjecture online about the state of Kate’s health and her and William’s marriage.

The kind of cancer Charles has has not been specified (echoing the decision taken by Kate and William to do the same)—just that he was receiving treatment. While the palace has not offered updates on his condition, Charles has been seen waving from the Bentley state limousine, and attending church with Queen Camilla. The Mail reported March 17 that special plans were being drawn up for Charles to attend Trooping the Colour if his health allows it.

The Kate saga unfolded when the palace announced in January that the princess—last seen in public on Christmas Day 2023 alongside her family and wider royal family members at their annual walk to church at Sandringham—would be having abdominal surgery for an unspecified medical condition.

After the surgery, Kensington Palace released a statement, saying: “The surgery was successful and it is expected that she will remain in hospital for ten to fourteen days, before returning home to continue her recovery. Based on the current medical advice, she is unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter.” The statement went on to say that it would only provide updates that were “significant.”

At the time, the Palace said Kate’s condition was “not cancerous,” which it has now explained—as detailed above—was down to the princess and palace not being aware of what tests would later reveal.

Although Kate has not been seen in public for months, the Sun reported March 17 that she was seen shopping in Windsor, and cheering on her children at sports that weekend.

While the palace had initially announced that Kate would not return to work until after Easter—meaning her children’s school Easter holidays—online speculation about her health went into overdrive when Prince William pulled out of speaking at his godfather King Constantine of Greece’s memorial service at the last minute, citing personal reasons.

Prince William, Prince of Wales and Catherine, Princess of Wales attend a ceremonial welcome for The President and the First Lady of the Republic of Korea at Horse Guards Parade, in London, Britain on November 21, 2023.

Prince William, Prince of Wales and Catherine, Princess of Wales, attend a ceremonial welcome for the president of the Republic of Korea in London, Britain, on Nov. 21, 2023.

Chris Jackson/Pool via Reuters

TMZ then published a picture of a figure allegedly supposed to be Kate sitting in a car with her mother Carole Middleton. This was followed by “photo-gate,” in which Kate and William published a picture of her and their children—Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince George—to mark U.K. Mother’s Day.

The princess and children smiled for the camera, in an image that was allegedly taken by William and intended to reassure the public of Kate’s good health, as she continued to recuperate from abdominal surgery. However, numerous manipulations and tweaks to the image only heightened the rumor-mongering online, especially as Kate was pictured without her wedding ring. She issued a public apology via palace social media accounts for the doctoring of the image.

In an extensive report in the U.K. Sunday Times, Kate and William were described variously as “devastated” and “shaken” by the online furore, with sources saying Kate was considering talking about her health publicly, most likely at public events when she returned to official engagements. The most recent rumors saw her friends talking up a high-profile Easter Sunday return to public life that she and William were planning. An investigation is underway at the London Clinic—where Kate had abdominal surgery—after staff members there reportedly attempted to access her medical information.

Then came the rumor of the BBC being told to prepare to make space on-air for a royal announcement—which finally came with Kate revealing her own shattering cancer diagnosis Friday.

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