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Princess Kate, 42, Announces ‘Shock’ Cancer Diagnosis

The Princess of Wales had abdominal surgery in January and later learned she had cancer

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Princess of Wales, Kate Middleton announces that she has been diagnosed with cancer and is receiving treatment in London.
Rasid Necati Aslim/Anadolu via Getty Images

Catherine, the Princess of Wales, whose recent whereabouts and hospitalization this year has caused speculation for months, announced Friday the “huge shock” that she has cancer and has started preventive chemotherapy treatment.

In a video posted on social media, the former Kate Middleton, 42, did not specify what kind of cancer has been diagnosed. She said she is doing well and “getting stronger every day,” but asked for continuing privacy while she is undergoing treatment.

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The news is another jolt for the royal family since the announcement last month that King Charles III (Kate's father-in-law) was being treated for an unspecified type of cancer that was discovered while undergoing a procedure for a benign enlarged prostate.

When Kensington Palace first announced in mid-January that the princess was hospitalized for scheduled but unspecified “abdominal surgery,” palace officials said she would be out of sight until Easter and that her ailment was believed to be noncancerous.

The surgery was successful, but further tests after the operation found that cancer had been detected, Kate said.

“This of course came as a huge shock, and (Prince) William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family,” she said.

She said it has taken some time to recover from surgery and then start the treatment. The couple also had to take time to explain the situation to their young children, Prince George, 10; Princess Charlotte, 8; and 5-year-old Prince Louis, “in a way that is appropriate for them and to reassure them I am going to be OK.”

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Catherine, Princess of Wales, Princess Charlotte of Wales, Prince George of Wales, Prince William, Prince of Wales, Prince Louis of Wales and Mia Tindall attend Christmas Morning Service at Sandringham Church.
Samir Hussein/Getty Images

 “I am well, and getting stronger every day, by focusing on the things that will help me heal in my mind, body and spirit,” she said. She appeared to be sitting on a park bench, dressed in casual clothes, her hair in loose waves falling down her chest.

She said William has been a great source of comfort, as has the “love, support and kindness shown by so many of you.”

“We hope that you’ll understand that as a family we now need some time, space and privacy while I complete my treatment,” she concluded.

Kate’s announcement came after weeks of swirling speculation, rumors, conspiracy theories and gossipy twaddle about her whereabouts, well-being and even the state of her 13-year marriage to the Prince of Wales, 41.

In the absence of any official information from Kensington Palace about what ailed her and why she needed to be hospitalized for weeks, royal fans and social media posters rushed in with their own theories, which grew ever more outlandish as the weeks ticked by.

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When she released a photo of herself with her children for British Mothering Sunday on March 10, the otherwise routine photo drop blew up into an embarrassing debacle after global photo agencies, prodded by close examination posted on social media, pulled the snapshot and declared it had been Photoshopped.

Kate, a keen amateur photographer, then issued a statement acknowledging and apologizing for experimenting with photo editing. (Photo agencies then launched a reexamination of every picture either she or the palace have released since her 2011 marriage. )

This week, Kate and William were seen on video captured by a passerby while they were shopping at a farm shop near their Windsor home. The brief snippet showed her looking happy and healthy – contrary to some of the more absurd babble on social media about “Where is Kate?” Some posters continued to claim it wasn’t her in the video but a body double.

Earlier this week, a British privacy watchdog said it was investigating a report that staff at the private London hospital where she was treated tried to access the hospital database to snoop on her medical records.

Meanwhile, she is not the only royal family member with cancer. A day after Kensington Palace announced the princess’ hospitalization, Buckingham Palace announced that her father-in-law, King Charles III, 75, would be admitted to the same London hospital for treatment of a benign enlarged prostate.

A week later, the palace announced that the king has cancer and is being treated, but did not disclosed the type of cancer. Buckingham Palace has been more forthcoming regarding the king – he was photographed coming and going at the hospital whereas Kate was not - in part because Charles hopes his medical diagnosis will encourage more men to seek cancer screenings.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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