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Kate Middleton receives support after announcing she’s in ‘early stages’ of cancer treatment

The Princess of Wales revealed news about her health in a rare video announcement.

Kate Middleton made an announcement about her health on March 22, amid questioning of her wellbeing and whereabouts.

The Princess of Wales, in a rare taped statement released by Kensington Palace, shared that she is undergoing preventative chemotherapy for cancer.

The Princess of Wales was last seen in public on Christmas Day in 2023. Kensington Palace revealed she had undergone a “planned abdominal surgery” Jan. 16. The reason was not disclosed to the public, but the palace said she did not have cancer in a statement to NBC News.

The news comes as King Charles III undergoes treatment for a “form of cancer” announced by Buckingham Palace Feb. 5.

Here's what to know.

20d ago / 6:22 PM UTC

What is preventive chemotherapy?

While not a technical, clinical term, preventive chemotherapy refers to treatment that is conducted after an initial treatment, like surgery, to prevent cancer from coming back, Dr. Ben Ho Park, director of precision oncology at Vanderbilt School of Medicine, tells TODAY.com. A medical term for it would be “adjuvant chemotherapy.”

“There are some cancers ... where we have to make decisions (as to) who should get additional chemotherapy after surgery and who should not,” Park says. “We base that off things like the stage of the cancer, the type of cancer, and even ... the age of the patient sometimes to determine whether or not giving chemotherapy after surgery will improve outcomes.”

With preventive chemotherapy, “even though the surgeons have removed everything they can see, there could still be cancer cells floating around in the body that, if left untreated, may come back later (and) is then incurable,” he adds.

Clinical trials have shown that chemotherapy after initial treatment for some cancers can reduce the risk of the cancer recurring, he says.

Although Park has no inside knowledge of Kate’s case, he believes the preventive chemotherapy she is undergoing is “trying to maximize” on the treatment she’s already received, with the goal of eliminating all the cancer cells.

For many people who receive preventive, aka adjuvant, chemotherapy, Park says it’s not clear if they have cancer in that moment, and sometimes afterward.

“In truth, we over treat patients every year because we simply don’t know (if they still have cancer),” he explains. “A lot of patients ... get chemotherapy when they’re probably already cured.”

“There’s so much uncertainty,” he adds. And even after preventative chemotherapy, patients and their doctors “will still not know” if the cancer will recur.

Click here for the full article.

20d ago / 6:18 PM UTC

Kate Middleton becomes 3rd member of royal family to reveal cancer diagnosis this year

King Charles III and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, also revealed cancer diagnoses in 2024.

Less than a month after sharing that she "beat breast cancer," Ferguson, the ex-wife of Prince Andrew, Charles’ brother, said that she was diagnosed with skin cancer.

“I have been taking some time to myself as I have been diagnosed with malignant melanoma, a form of skin cancer, my second cancer diagnosis within a year after I was diagnosed with breast cancer this summer and underwent a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery,” she said on Instagram in January. “It was thanks to the great vigilance of my dermatologist that the melanoma was detected when it was.”

21d ago / 8:57 PM UTC

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle offer 'health and healing' to Kate

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, shared in a statement: “We wish health and healing for Kate and the family, and hope they are able to do so privately and in peace.”

Harry and Meghan stepped back from their duties as senior royals in 2020 and have lived in California since.

21d ago / 8:18 PM UTC

A look back at how King Charles III announced his cancer diagnosis

Currently, two members of the British royal family are undergoing treatment for cancer.

Charles revealed he had cancer Feb. 5 in an official statement from Buckingham Palace shared on social media.

“The King is grateful to his medical team for their swift intervention, which was made possible thanks to his recent hospital procedure,” palace officials said in a statement. “He remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible," the statement read.

Charles decided to disclose his diagnosis, per the palace's statement, “to prevent speculation and in the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer.”

Read on for more.

21d ago / 7:49 PM UTC

Kate's video message sparks conversation about sharing cancer diagnosis with kids

Kate, in her message, touched on sharing the news of her cancer diagnosis with her three children: Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5. She cited her children as a primary reason for wanting privacy.

“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,” Kate said.

She ended her video with a message to other families affected by cancer, and other parents who had to have similarly hard conversations.

Denver psychologist Sheryl Ziegler spoke to TODAY.com about sharing a difficult diagnosis with a child.

“You might say, ‘I’m going to fight as hard as I can, I’m healthy and I have the best doctors,” Ziegler tells TODAY.com.

“If you get emotional, label it,” Ziegler says. “If you don’t — if you cover your face or leave the room — kids might think you’re not telling the truth or that it’s worse than they thought. It’s OK to say, ‘I’m worried.’”

“You might say, ‘I’m going to fight as hard as I can, I’m healthy and I have the best doctors,” Ziegler continues.

Read more about talking to kids about cancer here.

21d ago / 7:42 PM UTC

Kate Middleton's brother James Middleton posts sweet message, throwback photo

After her cancer diagnosis announcement, Kate Middleton's younger brother, James Middleton, shared a message for his sister. On Instagram, he paired his words with a heartfelt message.

"Over the years, we have climbed many mountains together. As a family, we will climb this one with you too," he wrote.

The photo appears to be of Kate and James in the outdoors, perhaps hiking to complement the sentiment of his post.

Kate is the oldest of three children. She also has a sister, Pippa Middleton Matthews.

21d ago / 7:31 PM UTC

Fans and supporters criticise how the palace handled news rollout

In her announcement, Kate said she wanted time to process the news and share it with her young children. But what role did Kensington Palace play in the proliferation of theories and rumors during that time?

On social media, people are analyzing the public relations moves that may have led to misinformation, including releasing a manipulated photo for Mother's Day. Kate apologized in a statement.

"The palace PR really fumbled about Kate. They created a huge mess and then tried to place the blame on her for the photo," one tweet read, in part.

"The royal family conveniently blaming kate middleton for the photoshop incident whilst already knowing of her diagnosis is actually crazy," another tweet read.

People got "out of hand" with speculation, an X user conceded, but also said: "I feel like the royals and press threw kate middleton under the bus, knowing she was dealing with cancer privately, bc they couldn’t manage the pr crisis. they should have protected her by shutting down conspiracies, instead they made it worse by blaming her for the photoshop."

21d ago / 7:27 PM UTC

Palace explains why Kate Middleton waited to share her cancer diagnosis

In a statement, Kensington Palace explained the time span between the Princess's abdominal surgery Jan. 16 and the announcement of preventative chemotherapy treatment on March 22.

"The Princess wanted to share this information when she and The Prince felt it was right for them as a family," a statement read.

Kate, in her video statement, elaborated, saying she needed "time" to handle the "huge shock" of the news.

"William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family," she said.

"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’s appropriate for them and to reassure them that I’m going to be OK," she said.

21d ago / 7:07 PM UTC

What does this moment mean for the royal family? Royal expert weighs in

Royal expert Katie Nicholl, speaking to NBC's Lester Holt, spoke about what Kate Middleton's ongoing cancer treatment means for the royal family.

"It means that we have two senior members of the royal family undergoing cancer treatment. The king and now the Princess of Wales. Two of the most important members of the royal family. Two of the most popular members of the royal family. When you think back to the madness that circulated on social media, so much of that has ben generated by a public affection for, and curiosity, into the life of the Princess of Wales. She is much loved and much adored," she said.

"This news will come as a shock to many. But actually, I suspect, as I relief to William and Kate. That they're finally been able to come out, put those rumors to an end. They've been able to have time to process this information. To tell their three young children which was clearly the priority in all of this," she continued.

Nicholl went on to call the video a "plea for privacy."

21d ago / 6:53 PM UTC

Kate's announcement inspires soul searching on social media

As the weeks of Kate's planned absence went on, hysteria seemed to mount on social media as theories abounded about her absence. People online reflected on their jokes and speculations in light of the sobering announcement.

21d ago / 6:37 PM UTC

When will Kate Middleton return to official duties? Palace sheds light

“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," the palace shared in an official statement.

Kensington Palace said, per NBC News' Molly Hunter, that Kate Middleton will be present at events, "but that should not necessarily indicate that she is back to a full force of royal duties."

21d ago / 6:24 PM UTC

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, sends a statement

"On behalf of all Londoners, my thoughts and prayers are with Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales following the news of her cancer treatment. I wish her a full and speedy recovery," the mayor wrote in a statement.

21d ago / 6:18 PM UTC

UK Prime minister releases statement on “unfair treatment” of Kate

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak issued a statement following Kate's delivery, applauding her "tremendous bravery."

"My thoughts are with the Princess of Wales, Prince of Wales, the Royal Family and in particular her three children at this difficult time. The Princess of Wales has the love and support of the whole country as she continues her recovery," the statement read.

Sunak also zeroed in on the theories and chatter amid Kate's public absence.

"She has shown tremendous bravery with her statement today. In recent weeks she been subjected to intense scrutiny and has been unfairly treated by certain sections of the media around the world and on social media. 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," Sunak wrote.

"I know I speak for the whole country in wishing her a full and speedy recovery and look forward to seeing her back in action when she’s ready."


21d ago / 6:03 PM UTC

What the palace previously said about Kate and cancer

In January, the palace confirmed to NBC News that Kate does not have cancer.

21d ago / 6:03 PM UTC

What does Kate Middleton say in the video?

A transcript of Kate Middleton's announcement:

I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you personally, for all the wonderful messages of support, and for your understanding, whilst I’ve 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’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.

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’s appropriate for them and to reassure them that I’m 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, 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’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 am able. But for now, I must focus on making a full recovery.

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.

21d ago / 6:03 PM UTC

King Charles III's cancer diagnosis

King Charles, father of Kate's husband Prince William, has cancer.

The cancer was detected when the king, 75, underwent corrective procedure for an enlarged prostate on Jan. 26 and was discharged from the hospital three days later.

Buckingham Palace officials did not specify which type of cancer he has, but confirmed to NBC News that it is not prostate cancer.

Charles has stepped back from public facing duties.

“The King is grateful to his medical team for their swift intervention, which was made possible thanks to his recent hospital procedure,” the official statement read. “He remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible.”

21d ago / 6:03 PM UTC

A timeline of Kate Middleton's public absence

January

Kensington Palace announced, Jan. 17, that Kate had undergone “planned abdominal surgery” on Jan. 16.

In the statement, Kensington Palace wrote: “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.”

Kate was discharged Jan. 29, per a statement from Kensington Palace.

Kate is expected to be recuperating for two to three months following the surgery, a palace source told NBC News at the time.

February

Amid speculation about Kate's whereabouts, Kensington Palace issued a statement reiterating the original timeline.

“Kensington Palace made it clear in January the timelines of the Princess’ recovery and we’d only be providing significant updates,” a spokesperson for the princess said in a statement to NBC News on Feb. 29. “That guidance stands.”

March

The first photo of Kate since the surgery was from March 5, a grainy image of her in the passenger seat of a black SUV driven by her mother. The palace declined to comment on these photos.

On March 10, Kensington Palace posted a photo for U.K. Mother's Day. According to the palace, it was taken by William the week prior.

But within several hours of the photo being shared, it was retracted by major news agencies, including the Associated Press and Reuters, due to “manipulation.”

The AP explained its decision to retract the photo in a statement to NBC News: “The Associated Press initially published the photo, which was issued by Kensington Palace. The AP later retracted the image because at closer inspection, it appears that the source had manipulated the image in a way that did not meet AP’s photo standards. The photo shows an inconsistency in the alignment of Princess Charlotte’s left hand.”

Kate addressed the controversy in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, writing, “Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing. I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused. I hope everyone celebrating had a very happy Mother’s Day. C.”

On March 18, a video reportedly of Kate and William at a market in Windsor taken began to circulate, spurring theories. Kensington Palace declined to comment on the footage.