Kate Middleton says she has cancer, is undergoing chemotherapy

Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales, says cancer was found during her abdominal surgery earlier this year and she is undergoing “preventative chemotherapy,” she announced Friday.

Kensington Palace has not disclosed what type of cancer was found, but said it was discovered in post-operative tests after her abdominal surgery.

“In January, I underwent major abdominal surgery in London and at the time, it was thought my condition was non-cancerous. The surgery was successful, however tests after the operation found cancer had been present,” she said in a video message posted to social media Friday afternoon, dressed informally in jeans and a white striped sweater.

“My medical team therefore advised that I should undergo a course of preventative chemotherapy and I’m 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.”

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Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales; Princess Charlotte; Prince George; William, the Prince of Wales; Prince Louis and Mia Tindall arrive to attend the Christmas day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in Norfolk, England, Monday, Dec. 25, 2023. Kin Cheung / The Associated Press

“As you can imagine this has taken time, it has taken me time to recover from major surgery in order to start my treatment,” the Princess continued. “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’ve 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.”

In her statement she asked for “time, space and privacy” as she undergoes her treatment.

“For now, I must focus on making a full recovery.”

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Neither the Palace, nor Middleton, has confirmed what type of surgery she initially had in January that led to the discovery of cancer.

Click to play video: '‘I am well’: Kate Middleton reveals cancer diagnosis in video released by Palace'
‘I am well’: Kate Middleton reveals cancer diagnosis in video released by Palace

In her message, she shared a word for others affected by the disease.

“At this time, I am also thinking of all those whose lives have been affected by cancer,” she said. “For everyone facing this disease, in whatever form, please do not lose faith or hope. You are not alone.”

(Read the full transcript of Middleton’s video.)

Britain’s Catherine, Princess of Wales, appears in this still image from a handout video released March 22, 2024, in which she announced that she is undergoing preventive chemotherapy after cancer was found to have been present, following her abdominal surgery in January. BBC Studios/Handout via REUTERS. BBC Studios / Handout via REUTERS

The initial surgery announcement

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On Jan. 17, Kensington Palace released its first statement about Middleton’s health, informing the world that she had undergone an abdominal surgery the previous day at the London Clinic.

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“Based on the current medical advice, she is unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter,” the Palace said at that time, adding that she would spend 10 to 14 days in hospital before returning home to recuperate.

The statement also noted that Middleton preferred that her “personal medical information” remain private and didn’t specify the type of surgery.

A second statement was released 13 days later saying the Princess had returned to the family’s home in Windsor to continue her recovery.

The Princess “is making good progress,” the Palace said on Jan. 29.

The Palace initially announced that the surgery was for a “non-cancerous” condition. It was only later, following post-operative testing, that the disease was detected.

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A screen displays a news report, as Catherine, the Princess of Wales announces that she is receiving a preventive course of chemotherapy for cancer on March 22, 2024 in London, England. The Princess of Wales had abdominal surgery earlier this year and has revealed that cancer has subsequently been found. She said she has been receiving chemotherapy and asked for privacy for her and her family. Leon Neal / Getty Images

Well-wishes for the Princess

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shared his support for Middleton and wished her a “swift recovery” in a post to social media Friday.

“My thoughts are with the Princess of Wales, her children, and the entire Royal Family following the news of her cancer so courageously shared,” he wrote.

“On behalf of Canadians, I’m sending my support as she undergoes treatment. We’re all wishing her a swift recovery.”

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Gov. Gen. Mary Simon also shared well-wishes, writing: “I wish the Princess of Wales courage and strength as she undergoes preventive treatment for cancer. My thoughts are with her and her family.”

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement that Middleton “has shown tremendous bravery.”

He also addressed the firestorm of speculation and gossip Middleton and her family have been subjected to in recent weeks, as the public clamoured for information about her health.

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“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.”

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre opened her Friday briefing with reporters moments after the news broke.

“We just heard the terrible news,” Jean-Pierre said.

“Our thoughts are with the Duchess of Cambridge and her family,” she added. “Certainly we wish her a full recovery.”

Another blow to the Royal Family

It has been a difficult start to the year for the Royal Family, as Friday’s news comes as King Charles III is currently undergoing treatment for an unspecified cancer.

Buckingham Palace announced in February that Charles, 75, had begun cancer treatment, less than 18 months into his reign.

The announcement came less than three weeks after the news that the King was being treated for an enlarged prostate.

In a statement from Buckingham Palace Friday, the King said he is “so proud” of his daughter-in-law and has remained in the “closest contact” with her over the past weeks.

The King and Queen Camilla “will continue to offer their love and support to the whole family through this difficult time,” the palace said.

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— with files from The Associated Press

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