The Princess of Wales has been diagnosed with cancer and revealed her illness to the world in a personal and deeply moving video message. Kate Middleton disclosed that the cancer was discovered while she underwent major abdominal surgery at The London Clinic at the start of the year. The 42-year-old princess said she needed to recover from surgery before she could start “preventative chemotherapy”, as advised by her medical team. “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 added. The news is another cruel blow to the royal family with King Charles and the future queen now both fighting cancer at the same time. The King paid tribute to his “beloved” daughter-in-law after the news broke, and said he was “so proud of Catherine for her courage in speaking as she did”. Speculation has swirled for weeks about Kate’s medical condition, with ceaseless rumours and wild conspiracy theories online. Wearing a blue and white striped jumper with blue trousers and sitting on a garden bench, Kate explained she had needed time to come to terms with the news and tell her children, Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5, before informing the wider world. She said: “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 am now in the early stages of that treatment.” Praising her husband as “a great source of comfort and reassurance”, Kate said: “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.” “As I have 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.” The emotional video was filmed at Windsor on Wednesday. It is understood it was released on the first day of the Easter school holidays to shield the children from coverage of their mother’s health. Kate was last seen at an official royal engagement at Christmas, when she attended church with her family at Sandringham, Norfolk. She was admitted to hospital for two weeks in January and was expected to recuperate for several months, not returning to official duties until after Easter. The princess did not reveal her medical condition, in contrast to the King who was open about his cancer diagnosis after going in for prostate treatment. Her disappearance from public life prompted wild rumours about her health, which were only compounded when she released a family picture to mark Mother’s Day, surrounded by her three children. The image was pulled by six pictures agencies after it emerged that the image had been digitally altered. Kate personally apologised for editing the picture, but the original photograph was never released. She and William were spotted at a farm shop in Windsor last weekend, which prompted outlandish speculation that she had been replaced by a body double. The rumour and conjecture will now be silenced by the shocking news from Kensington Palace and the princess has asked for privacy to let the family cope with her condition. “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.” Paying tribute to all those who are also suffering, she finished her statement by saying: “At this time, I am 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.” It is not known how long Kate will receive treatment but it is understood she may attend events as and when she feels able to, in line with medical advice, although this will not indicate a return to full-time duties. As the news of the princess’s diagnosis spread around the world, messages of support flooded in. Prime minister Rishi Sunak said she has “the love and support of the whole country”. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters in Washington DC: “Our thoughts are with the Duchess of Cambridge and her family members and friends during this incredibly difficult time.”

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