Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Kate Middleton’s health history as Princess of Wales reveals cancer diagnosis

The royal family are facing a string of health battles with both King Charles and Sarah Ferguson facing cancer treatements this year

Lydia Patrick
Friday 22 March 2024 19:28 GMT
Queen Camilla attends memorial service but William absent due to personal matter

The Princess of Wales has announced she has been diagnosed with cancer and is in the early stages of preventative chemotherapy.

In a recorded video statement, the princess said that her condition was initially not believed to be cancerous when she underwent major abdominal surgery in January.

However, subsequent tests revealed the presence of cancer and she has since been advised to undergo treatment, which she is in the early stages of receiving.

“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,” she said.

Follow our live coverage for all the latest updates here

Kate Middleton underwent abdominal surgery in January (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

“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,” she said.

The 42-year-old princess added that having Prince William by her side had been a “great source of comfort and reassurance” and requested that the family receive privacy while she completes her treatment.

According to the NHS website, chemotherapy is a treatment aimed at stopping cancer cells from reproducing, which prevents them from growing and spreading in the body.

As well as killing cancer cells, chemotherapy can damage some healthy cells in your body such as blood cells, skin cells and cells in the stomach. This can cause nausea, tiredness, hair loss and an increased risk of infections.

It follows weeks of speculation into Kate’s health, with a number of conspiracy theories circulating since her admission to hospital for abdominal surgery.

The princess has only been spotted on a handful of occasions since January, including at a farm shop in Windsor earlier this week with her husband William.

Despite a video appearing of the couple, wild claims emerged that an impersonator had been taking her place with one lookalike forced to deny that she was the woman in the widely-seen footage.

On Wednesday, it also emerged that a member of staff at the private hospital The London Clinic, where Kate spent two weeks receiving treatment, had allegedly attempted to view Kate’s files while she was a patient.

Up to three staff members are allegedly being investigated, with the Information Commissioner’s Office, the UK’s privacy watchdog, confirming they had received a breach report and were “assessing the information provided”.

Speculation around Kate’s disappearance from public duties were only fuelled after she was forced to apologise when an image released on Mother’s Day was found to have been manipulated.

An image released on Mother’s Day was shown to have been manipulated (Reuters)

Kensington Palace released the image of the princess with her three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, on Sunday, 10 March.

Within hours however, major picture agencies across the world issued a rare ‘kill notice’ after a number of editing issues were spotted. This included Charlotte’s sleeve being misaligned, Kate’s hand being blurry and her zipper being misaligned.

As the furore into the picture controversy continued, with picture agencies such as Getty Images demanding an explanation from the palace, Kate released a statement apologising for the confusion caused.

“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,” she said.

Other images taken by Kate of the royal family have since been reassessed and found to have been digitally altered, including a picture taken at Balmoral on the late Queen’s 97th birthday.

She has now begun preventative chemotherapy treatment (PA Images)

While Kate has only been spotted next to her husband on her to way to attend a private appointment and out in Windsor, Prince William has continued to attend royal engagements.

Despite initially taking a period of leave to care for his family, he return to public duties in February and has since attended events in Wrexham, Sheffield and London.

He did however miss a memorial for his godfather the late King Constantine on 27 February, sparking concerns for his wife’s health.

Constantine died at the age of 82 in January last year, decades after being toppled from the throne in a military coup.

William, 41, called the Greek royal family to let them know he was unable to attend, and Crown Prince Pavlos stood in for the British heir to the throne who was due to give a Bible reading.

The palace reported the Prince of Wales missed the memorial service due to a personal matter, however, they did not elaborate further.

Following the princess’s admission into hospital, the exact nature of her condition was not revealed, with the Palace previously saying it was not cancer-related, and that Kate wished her personal medical information to remain private.

William pulled out of attending a memorial service event for unknown reasons (2023 Getty Images)

Challenging pregnancies

During the then-Duchess of Cambridge’s three pregnancies, she suffered with hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition which causes severe vomiting.

To overcome the extreme sickness, she revealed in a podcast Happy Mum, Happy Baby, she resorted to hypnobirthing techniques of mindfulness and meditation.

In the 2020 podcast, the Princess told the host Giovanna Fletcher: “I’m not going to say that William was standing there sort of, chanting sweet nothings at me.

“He definitely wasn’t. I didn’t even ask him about it, but it was just something I wanted to do for myself.

“I saw the power of it really, the meditation and the deep breathing and things like that, that they teach you in hypnobirthing, when I was really sick, and actually I realised that this was something I could take control of, I suppose, during labour. It was hugely powerful.”

Kate has only been spotted on a handful of occasions since Christmas (Getty Images)

Her latest health issues come amid a series of setbacks for the British monarchy, with King Charles also undergoing treatment for an undisclosed form of cancer.

The 75-year-old monarch has stepped back from public duties and is said to be doing “very well”, but has continued with other state affairs, including his weekly discussions with the prime minister.

Prince Andrew’s former wife, Sarah Ferguson, is also currently undergoing treatment for skin cancer, just six months after being treated for breast cancer.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in