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Kate Middleton Reveals She Has Cancer and Is Getting Chemo, Says It Has 'Taken Time' to Tell Her Kids

The Princess of Wales, 42, who underwent abdominal surgery on Jan. 16, shared a personal video message revealing the news

<p>BBC Studios</p> Kate Middleton announces she

BBC Studios

Kate Middleton announces she's undergoing treatment for cancer in a video released on March 22, 2024

Kate Middleton is undergoing treatment for cancer.

The Princess of Wales, 42, shared her health news on Friday in a personal video message, which comes after Kensington Palace announced on Jan. 17 that Princess Kate had undergone a "planned abdominal surgery" the previous day. At the time, it was understood that the issue was non-cancerous, but post-operative tests "found cancer had been present." The type of cancer was not revealed. A Kensington Palace spokesperson says, "We will not be sharing any further private medical information. The Princess has a right to medical privacy, as we all do."

In her emotional video, Princess Kate started by thanking well-wishers for their "wonderful messages of support" amid her recovery during what has been "an incredibly tough couple of months for our entire family."

"In January, I underwent major abdominal surgery in London, and at the time, it was thought that my condition was non-cancerous," she said. "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."

Calling the news a "huge shock," Kate said that she and Prince William "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 is appropriate for them, and to reassure them that I am going to be ok," she said referring to her three children: Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5. "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."

Related: Kate Middleton's Surgery Recovery and Photo Controversy: Everything to Know

The Princess of Wales continued, "Having William by my side is a great source of comfort and reassurance 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 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."

"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," she concluded. "You are not alone."

Princess Kate spent 13 days at The London Clinic following her abdominal surgery before returning home to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor to continue her recovery. Her extended time out of the public eye led to conspiracy theories and rumors circulating online about her health and whereabouts, which came to a fever pitch when a photo that was shared to mark Mother's Day in the U.K. was pulled by agencies due to suspicions of manipulation. Kate issued a statement where she said she does "occasionally experiment with editing" and apologized for "any confusion" over the picture.

A palace spokesperson says Princess Kate started the course of preventative chemotherapy in late February.

Regarding her return to public duties, the spokesperson says, "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."

Meanwhile, Prince William "will continue to balance supporting his wife and family and maintaining his official duties as he has done since the start of the year." The Prince of Wales is expected to spend time with his family during his children's Easter break from school in early April before returning to royal engagements.

<p>Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images</p> Prince William and Kate Middleton at the Korea state visit on Nov. 21, 2023

Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prince William and Kate Middleton at the Korea state visit on Nov. 21, 2023

Related: Kate Middleton Conspiracies Swirl: PEOPLE's Royals Expert of 27 Years Shares What He Knows

The news of Princess Kate's diagnosis comes just weeks after her father-in-law King Charles announced on Feb. 5 that he was undergoing treatment for cancer. "During The King's recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted. Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer," the palace said in a statement. "His Majesty has today commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties. Throughout this period, His Majesty will continue to undertake state business and official paperwork as usual."

Although she's largely remained out of the public eye amid her recovery, Kate has been spotted in public a few times. On March 4, she was photographed riding in the passenger seat of a car driven by her mother, Carole Middleton. She was seen again in a car with Prince William on March 11 leaving Windsor Castle. While the Prince of Wales stepped out with members of the royal family for the annual Commonwealth Day Service of Celebration at Westminster Abbey, PEOPLE understands Princess Kate was heading to a private appointment.

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Over the weekend, Princess Kate and Prince William were filmed by a local resident while shopping in Windsor.

Princess Kate made her last official public appearance at the end of 2023 when she joined members of the royal family for their traditional Christmas church outing in Norfolk.

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