Catherine, Princess of Wales, reveals she has cancer

In a prerecorded video, the princess announced that she was diagnosed after she underwent abdominal surgery in mid-January and is now receiving treatment

Hospital Kate Middleton
The Princess of Wales on October 12 during a visit to a sports center in the town of Marlow.Chris Jackson (Getty Images)
Rafa de Miguel

Catherine, the Princess of Wales, has decided to be the one to explain the reason she has been in hiding from the public eye for more than two months: the princess has revealed that, in the course of the abdominal surgery she underwent in mid-January, doctors detected a cancer for which she has begun to be treated with chemotherapy. “This of course came as a huge shock,” Catherine said. “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.”

“In January I underwent major abdominal surgery in London, and at the time, it was thought my condition was noncancerous. 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’m now in the early stages of that treatment,” the princess explained in the video posted on X.

The princess, who for weeks has been under immense pressure with all kinds of speculation and rumors circulating both on traditional media and social media, has decided to nip it all in the bud and offer a thorough explanation: “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’m going to be OK,” Catherine added.

The Princess of Wales concludes her recorded message — in which she’s seen seated on a wooden bench in the middle of the garden of her residence — again asking the public to respect her privacy: “We hope that you’ll 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’m able. But for now, I must on making a full recovery.”

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who immediately sent a message of support to the Prince and Princess of Wales, had harsh words for all those who have fueled theories and speculation about Catherine’s health or whereabouts over the past two months. “She has shown tremendous bravery with her statement today. 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,” said a Sunak spokesperson.

Labour opposition leader Keir Starmer immediately also issued a statement of support: “Any cancer diagnosis is shocking. But I can only imagine the added stress of receiving that news amid the lurid speculation that we’ve seen in recent weeks. Their Royal Highnesses are entitled to privacy and, like any parents, will have waited to choose the right moment to tell their children.”

From Buckingham Palace, King Charles III — himself afflicted with cancer and in the midst of his treatment — is said to be immensely “proud of Catherine for her courage in speaking as she did.” The monarch underwent surgery for prostatic hypertrophy at the London Clinic around the same days that his daughter-in-law underwent her abdominal operation. “Following their time in hospital together, [the King] has remained in the closest contact with his beloved daughter-in-law throughout the past weeks. [Both the King and Queen] will continue to offer their love and support to the whole family through this difficult time,” said a spokesman for the British royal household.

In recent days, the Prince of Wales has continued with his public agenda and has spoken fondly of the princess while the two faced an avalanche of rumors on social media and in some media outlets. Some went so far as to allege infidelities within the marriage. “Having William by my side is a great source of comfort. And reassurance as to the love, support and kindness that has been shown by so many of you. It means so much,” the princess said in the video message, which was recorded by BBC Studios.

A turning point

The tone of the British media has taken a drastic turn since the princess’ video statement was published. The last few days, the media’s attention had been on the credibility crisis suffered by the royal family due to a bad communication strategy. This Friday, however, British television programs and digital newspapers were full of praise for Catherine.

Gone is the controversy over the photo published by Kensington Palace — the official residence and name given to the office handling the affairs of the Prince and Princess of Wales — on social media on March 10, Mother’s Day in the U.K., in which Middleton appeared surrounded by her three children. The image was quickly denounced by media agencies for having been manipulated and was eventually taken down and removed from media servers. The ordeal fueled new conspiracy theories among the thousands of people around the world obsessed with the personal life of the Princess of Wales.

A video published exclusively by the British tabloid The Sun last Monday, which was meant to quell rumors about the princess’ wellbeing, ended up adding fuel to the fire. In the recording, the Prince and Princess of Wales are seen walking together outside a farm shop in Windsor. The princess is wearing a sweatshirt and leggings, with a plastic bag in her hand with some purchases. Middleton walks smiling next to Prince William, who is wearing a cap that hides part of his face. After seeing the video, the British media began to demand further explanations from Kensington Palace and called on the royals to put an end to the wave of rumors and speculation surrounding the health of the princess.

Four days later, it is clear that those images, and the interpretation that was made of them, did not correspond to the seriousness of what the princess had been going through, as she revealed this Friday. “At this time, I’m 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,” Catherine concluded in a message that has touched an entire nation. And the rest of the world.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get more English-language news coverage from EL PAÍS USA Edition

More information

Archived In

Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS