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Princess of Wales ‘touched’ by support after cancer announcement

The announcement ended weeks of wild speculation about Catherine’s health, with many praising her courage and others criticising the conspiracies that spread over her absence

File photo of Catherine, Princess Of Wales during the opening of Evelina London’s new children’s day surgery unit on December 5, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Vogler – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

By: Shajil Kumar

CATHERINE, the Princess of Wales, and her husband, Prince William, have been “enormously touched” by the messages of support received following her shock announcement that she is being treated for cancer, a Kensington Palace spokesperson said on Saturday.

Catherine said on Friday she was undergoing preventative chemotherapy after tests done following her major abdominal surgery in January revealed cancer had been present.

Her video message triggered a wave of support from global leaders, family members, media and the public.

The 42-year-old wife of heir to the throne Prince William, called the cancer discovery a “huge shock”. The news comes as a fresh health blow to the royal family: King Charles is also undergoing treatment for cancer.

“The Prince and Princess are both enormously touched by the kind messages from people here in the UK, across the Commonwealth and around the world in response to Her Royal Highness’ message,” the Kensington Palace spokesperson said in a statement.

“They are extremely moved by the public’s warmth and support and are grateful for the understanding of their request for privacy at this time.”

Catherine’s Friday announcement dominated British newspaper front pages on Saturday, with supportive messages combined with criticism of those who had speculated about her health in recent weeks.

The announcement ended weeks of wild speculation about Catherine’s health, with many praising her courage and others criticising the conspiracies that spread over her absence.

The public also showed their support.

“Seeing the extraordinary dignity which Catherine has shown, and her trying to hold together the royal family, I hope that now what the media will do is to give her and her family the privacy and respect that they deserve,” solicitor Simon Davis, 64, said outside Kensington Palace park.

“It’s good that she said what’s going on because I think it helps a lot of people that experience that,” said Sarah Macdonald-Brown, a 50-year old art gallery owner.

Tourist Karen Ferguson, 42, also showed her admiration for the princess, who is still popularly known by her maiden name Kate Middleton.

“It’s great that she came out and made a public statement so that people know she’s doing OK, and what’s going on. And I think we’re all just sending well-wishes, especially for her young children.”

One of the most personal messages of support came from Kate’s brother, James Middleton.

He posted a childhood photo of him and his sister on Instagram and wrote: “Over the years, we have climbed many mountains together. As a family we will climb this one with you too.”

Positive media coverage

“KATE, YOU ARE NOT ALONE,” The Sun tabloid’s front page declared, saying she received a “huge outpouring of love and support”. The rival Daily Mirror went with “KATE REVEALS CANCER SHOCK” and shared her remarks about how she had to explain the news to her children Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5.

The Daily Telegraph quoted the princess as saying: “Cancer came as huge shock”, but noted she said she is “going to be OK”.

The Daily Mail rounded on people who have speculated on her health, asking: “How do all those vile online trolls feel now?”

Rumours and gossip on social media, in newspapers and even some U.S. talk shows had abounded since Kate’s January surgery, although her Kensington Palace office had announced at the time that she would be absent from royal engagements while she recovered.

Support across world

On Friday, messages of support poured in for Kate, including from King Charles, Prince Harry, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and U.S. President Joe Biden.

Sunak said Kate had “shown tremendous bravery” with her statement, adding she “has been unfairly treated by certain sections of the media around the world and on social media”.

Kate’s diagnosis was also big news internationally.

“Catherine’s Cancer Diagnosis Puts UK Royals on Even More Uncertain Terrain,” said the New York Times, noting that the grave health concerns of both the king and Kate are stretching an already slimmed-down monarchy.

Charles, who took the throne in September 2022 after the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth, underwent a corrective procedure for an enlarged prostate at the same hospital as Kate in January.

Buckingham Palace then revealed in February that the 75-year-old king was to have treatment for cancer, meaning he has had to postpone his public royal duties.

Staffing crisis

In the meantime, the royal family is facing a staffing crisis with two members facing serious health duties and others stepping back from frontline duties.

William’s younger brother Harry and wife Meghan quit the royal frontline in 2020 and now live in the United States, largely estranged from the family following the acrimonious split.

The king’s brother Andrew is also out of commission, stepping down from royal duties in 2019 after a disastrous television interview in which he defended his friendship with the late US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. (Agencies)

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