Kate Middleton diagnosed with cancer after abdominal surgery in ‘huge shock’ to British royal family

Kate Middleton has been diagnosed with an unspecified form of cancer, the Princess of Wales announced in a video Friday afternoon. 

“This, of course, came as a huge shock,” she said. “William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family.”

The news comes at the height of public speculation surrounding the 42-year-old’s wellbeing, which has spawned numerous conspiracy theories. Middleton underwent planned abdominal surgery at the London Clinic in January, at which time Kensington Palace said she would be stepping away from her public duties until after Easter. In a Jan. 17 post on X (formerly Twitter), the royal family noted the princess wished “that her personal medical information remains private.”

The “major” procedure, the details of which haven’t been made public, was for a non-cancerous condition, Middleton said in her video statement. Despite a successful surgery, tests later showed cancer had been present.

“My medical team therefore advised that I should undergo a course of preventative chemotherapy,” she said. “I am now in the early stages of that treatment.”

The princess thanked the public for their support and understanding during what has been “an incredibly tough couple of months” for the royal family.

“It has taken us time to explain everything to George, Charlotte, and Louis in a way that’s appropriate for them and to reassure them that I’m going to be OK,” she said. “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, as is the love, support, and kindness that has been shown by so many of you. It means so much to us both.”

Middleton asked for privacy as she continues treatment, and said she looks forward to returning to work as soon as she’s able. She closed her announcement with a message to others in her situation.

“I’m 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.”

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak issued a statement in support of Middleton, which reads, in part, “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.”

In February, King Charles, 75, was diagnosed with “a form of cancer” during a procedure for a benign enlarged prostate, Buckingham Palace said. He, too, has stepped away from public duties but planned to “undertake State business and official paperwork as usual.”

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