Kate Middleton's cancer announcement likely timed to protect her kids, expert says

ByKatie Kindelan ABCNews logo
Saturday, March 23, 2024
Kate Middleton diagnosed with cancer, undergoing chemotherapy
Kristin Thorne and Dr. Darien Sutton break down Kate Middleton's cancer diagnosis.

When Kate, the Princess of Wales, announced Friday she had been diagnosed with cancer, she put a special emphasis on what the diagnosis meant for her family.

Kate, 42, is the wife of Prince William and the mother of three young children, Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, who will turn 6 in April.

"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," Kate said Friday of her diagnosis, which she said she received after undergoing abdominal surgery in January. "As you can imagine, this has taken time. It has taken me time to recover from major surgery in order to start my treatment."

MORE | Kate Middleton says she was diagnosed with cancer, is undergoing chemotherapy

Catherine, the Princess of Wales, formerly Kate Middleton, was diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy, she said in a video on Friday.

She continued, "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."

Kate's decision to wait until Friday to publicly announce her diagnosis was likely made with a priority of protecting her children, according to ABC News royal contributor Victoria Murphy.

George, Charlotte and Louis all attend the Lambrook School, a private school located the near family's home in Windsor, England.

"Their children, George, Charlotte and Louis, have just broken up for their Easter holiday," Murphy said Friday. "So they're now able to take the children away from their school environment, keep them in a bubble with them and really protect them from the outside world while all this news and while this reaction hits the rest of the world, and while people are talking about it."

William will return to royal engagements after the Easter holiday, ABC News understands. The palace has not shared a return date for Kate, saying in a statement, "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."

The type of cancer Kate was diagnosed with has not been disclosed. A Kensington Palace spokesperson said Friday that Kate commenced a course of preventative chemotherapy in late February.

Britain's Prince William, left, and Britain's Kate, Princess of Wales, attend a ceremonial welcome in London, England on Nov. 21, 2023.
Chris Jackson/Pool Photo via AP, File

Kate's announcement comes as her father-in-law King Charles III also undergoes cancer treatment.

Murphy said it appears William and Kate took their time in telling their children about Kate's diagnosis to better prepare them for the news.

"They've been considering how to talk to their children about it, bearing in mind that their children go to school, they go to school with other children, they interact with the children," Murphy said. "Even things like telling their children something like this and then asking them not to talk to anyone about it is a difficult thing to do, so all of these things will have been going on in their minds."

Murphy continued, "I think the timing of this announcement is about the fact that they can now take the children away from the outside world."

In past years, William and Kate and their children have publicly attended Easter service together at St. George's Chapel in Windsor.

Prior to Kate's announcement, it was anticipated that the public could see the Waleses attending the service together this year, but the palace said the family is not expected to attend, according to Murphy.

In her video message this week, Kate also thanked William for his support saying, "Having William by my side is a great source of comfort and reassurance too."

The couple, who wed in 2011, will celebrate their 13th wedding anniversary on April 29.