By Max Foster and Lauren Said-Moorhouse, CNN

LONDON (CNN) — Catherine, Princess of Wales, revealed Friday she has been diagnosed with cancer and is in the “early stages” of treatment.

The princess described the diagnosis as a “huge shock” in a video statement released on social media. The news comes two months after she had temporarily stepped away from public life following what Kensington Palace said at the time was surgery for a non-cancerous abdominal condition.

“In January, I underwent major abdominal surgery in London and at the time, it was thought that my condition was non-cancerous,” said Catherine, 42, who is married to the heir to the British throne, Prince William.

“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.”

Kate continued that “William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family.”

The princess added, “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.”

Kate said that she had told them she is “well and getting stronger every day by focusing on the things that will help me heal; in my mind, body and spirits.”

She praised Prince William for being by her side as “a great source of comfort and reassurance” as well as the support she has received from the public.

“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,” the princess said.

She ended her heartfelt message by saying that she was also keeping “all those whose lives have been affected by cancer” in her thoughts.

“For everyone facing this disease, in whatever form, please do not lose faith or hope. You are not alone,” Kate concluded in the video statement, which was filmed by BBC Studios at Windsor on Wednesday.

CNN understands the Prince and Princess of Wales wanted to wait for their young children to be out of school for the Easter holidays before making the announcement.

Prince William has been balancing supporting his wife and children while continuing his public-facing duties and will continue to do so, a royal source told CNN.

Kate had been expected to return to official duties after Easter, however she will now postpone further work until she has been cleared to do so by her medical team, the source said.

Kensington Palace is not expected to reveal any further medical details such as the type of cancer or what stage it is.

The news is a devastating blow for the British monarchy and comes as King Charles III is currently undergoing treatment for an unspecified cancer, which was announced by Buckingham Palace in early February.

King Charles said he was “so proud” of Catherine, his daughter-in-law, for “her courage in speaking as she did” in sharing her cancer diagnosis, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said late Friday.

Charles said he “remained in the closest contact” with Kate since they received treatment at the same London hospital, and that he and Queen Camilla will “continue to offer their love and support to the whole family through this difficult time.”

Kate was admitted to The London Clinic on January 16 and successfully underwent a planned abdominal surgery, Kensington Palace said at the time. She remained in the hospital for 13 days following the procedure and, on doctor’s advice, had since been away from public duties during her recovery.

Kate was spotted in public for the first time since her surgery, visiting a farm shop with her husband Prince William last weekend, amid intense speculation about her health and whereabouts.

Since the announcement on Friday, well wishes have poured in for the princess.

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex said in a joint statement that they “wish health and healing for Kate and the family, and hope they are able to do so privately and in peace.”

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that the princess had “the love and support of the whole country.” Sunak said Friday on social media that Kate had shown “tremendous bravery with her statement” and that his thoughts were with her and “in particular her three children.”

British opposition Labour party leader Keir Starmer also sent his “best wishes” to the princess, saying that the “lurid speculation” of recent weeks must have “added” to her stress.

Meanwhile, the White House said the update from the princess was “terrible” and that the administration was “incredibly sad to hear of the news.” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the administration’s thoughts were with the royal and her family “during this incredibly difficult time, and certainly we wish her a full recovery.”

Jean-Pierre stressed it was “important that we respect their privacy, especially at this time, so I’m not going to go further than that.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.


Here is the transcript of Princess Catherine's statement on March 22, 2024:

“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.”

 


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