London CNN  — 

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

The princess, known as Kate, described her 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.”

Catherine, Princess of Wales during a Portage Session for her 'Shaping Us' campaign on early childhood, taken September 27, 2023 in Sittingbourne, England.

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.

The princess started preventative chemotherapy in late February, the source said, adding that 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.

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

Preventative chemotherapy is often used after surgery as an “adjuvant” therapy, to weaken the chances of cancer returning, Dr. Karen Knudsen, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society, told CNN.

Catherine, Princess of visits Nottingham Trent University to learn about their mental health support system on October 11, 2023 in Nottingham, England. The Prince and Princess of Wales are carrying out engagements across the UK to mark World Mental Health Day and to highlight the importance of mental wellbeing, particularly in young people.
Dr. Gupta describes what stands out to him about Princess of Wales' cancer diagnosis
02:57 - Source: CNN

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.”


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Kate was admitted to The London Clinic, a private hospital in the city, 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 in a statement that the princess had “the love and support of the whole country,” adding that Kate had shown “tremendous bravery” and that she had been “unfairly treated” during weeks of “intense scrutiny” by the press and on social media. He added 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.”

CNN’s Benjamin Brown and Nikki Carvajal contributed reporting.