Flowers and a letter to the Princess of Wales were left outside Windsor Castle in Windsor, England, Saturday, March 23, 2024. Image Credit: AP

LONDON: Kate, the Princess of Wales, and her husband, Prince William, are said to be “extremely moved” by the public’s warmth and support following her shocking cancer announcement as tributes continued to pour in Sunday from around the world.

After weeks of frenzied speculation on social media about her health and well-being, Kate said in a candid video message on Friday that she is undergoing chemotherapy for cancer following major abdominal surgery . The 42-year-old princess said the cancer discovery was a “huge shock” and she was now in the early stages of preventative chemotherapy.

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“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,” a spokesperson for Kensington Palace said. “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.”

There has been a global outpouring of support, including from US President Joe Biden, and King Charles III who is also undergoing treatment for cancer. Neither Kate nor the king have revealed what type of cancer they have or the stage at which it was being treated.

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People have flocked to the royal’s main London residence, Kensington Palace, as well as to Windsor Castle, where they spend most of their time, to show support for the princess, with many leaving flowers.

Until Friday, officials had only said Kate’s surgery in January was successful and recuperation would keep the princess away from public duties until April. This has sparked a flurry of rumour-mongering about the “missing” future queen, compounded after Kate acknowledged that she altered an official photo released to mark Mother’s Day in the UK earlier this month.


The photo, meant to reassure the public, triggered a backlash after The Associated Press and other news agencies retracted it over manipulation concerns.

Even a video published last week by The Sun and TMZ that appeared to show Kate and William shopping near their home did not dispel the negative coverage.

Criticism of those jumping to sometime-outlandish conclusions continued to be voiced over the weekend.

Paddy Harverson, previously the official spokesman of Kate and the Prince of Wales, said the speculation and pressure around Kate’s health and whereabouts before her video statement was “the worst I’ve ever seen.”

However, he said he thought Kate would have revealed her cancer diagnosis exactly as she had, regardless of what was being speculated.

Image Credit: AP

“I’m absolutely convinced that if we hadn’t had all the madness and social media, if we hadn’t had the sort of the Mother’s Day photo mistake, they would have still done it like this,” he told the BBC. “They would have still waited till this last Pride

Friday when the schools are breaking up to make the announcement.”

Charles - 17 months into his reign when Buckingham Palace announced in February he would be cancelling all public engagements - led tributes to his “beloved daughter-in-law”.

The ailing 75-year-old monarch spoke of his pride in “her courage in speaking as she did”.

The Daily Mail tabloid denounced the “social media trolls who have been peddling disgusting conspiracy theories to explain her absence from public life”.

Outside Kensington Palace in London, Nathaniel Taylor, a 24-year-old government worker, said: “I think it’s really damning what happened to them, what the media has done, how they’ve reacted over these past couple of months.

“I think some speculation is inevitable but the lengths people were going to try and make things up it’s just (too much). Hopefully people take a look in the mirror.”

At Tower Bridge, Sofia, a 19-year-old student who did not give her family name, said she had seen “weird accusations” about the absence and that the true reason was “sad”.

“Obviously it was a much (more) serious matter”, she said.

Kensington Palace said she would return to official duties “when she is cleared to do so by her medical team”.

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.