Princess Catherine of Wales, also known as Kate Middleton, was diagnosed with cancer and is receiving chemotherapy, Kensington Palace announced Friday afternoon.

In a two-and-a-half minute video, Princess Kate updated the public on her health status following a major abdominal procedure in London she received in January.

Over the following months, her whereabouts were the subject of widespread media coverage and public speculation as she largely abstained from the spotlight.

The video — which was filmed at Windsor on Wednesday — represents her first public remarks since the surgery and confirmed that she was diagnosed with cancer and underwent preventative chemotherapy. 

“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 said in the video. “As you can imagine, this has taken time. It has taken me time to recover from major surgery in order to start my treatment.”

In conclusion, she asked for time, space and privacy as she undergoes additional treatment. She promised to update the public again as she recovers and offered well wishes to others living with cancer.

This is a developing story that will be updated as more information becomes available.

Royal family health update: King Charles’ enlarged prostate and Princess Kate’s abdominal surgery

This story was originally published on January 18, 2024.

This story has been updated with information on the melanoma diagnosis of Sarah, the Duchess of York.

The British royal family is in the spotlight for their health this week, with King Charles planning to undergo prostate surgery and Princess Kate recovering from abdominal surgery.

On Wednesday, Kensington Palace released a statement noting that the Princess of Wales was admitted to the hospital for abdominal surgery on Tuesday. In the statement, the palace said the surgery was successful — but that she would likely stay in the hospital for up to two weeks “before returning home to continue her recovery.”

Her recovery may take a while, however, as the statement said she is unlikely to return to her normal public duties until after Easter, which falls on March 31. The palace also underscored Middleton’s desire to keep her health information private and did not further detail what the abdominal surgery was for.

“The Princess of Wales appreciates the interest this statement will generate,” the palace continued. “She hopes that the public will understand her desire to maintain as much normality for her children as possible; and her wish that her personal medical information remains private.”

Shortly after the Princess Kate news, Buckingham Palace released another statement announcing that King Charles would also be in the hospital next week for a procedure related to an enlarged prostate.

“In common with thousands of men each year, The King has sought treatment for an enlarged prostate,” the statement read. “His Majesty’s condition is benign and he will attend hospital next week for a corrective procedure. The King’s public engagements will be postponed for a short period of recuperation.”

In a video posted on X, a bystander asks Queen Camilla about her husband’s health, and she quickly replies that “He’s fine, thank you very much. Looking forward to getting back to work.”

An enlarged prostate is actually quite common among older men, with enlargement occurring to almost all men as they age. The prostate, a gland that produces fluid carrying sperm, is often called a benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) when it’s enlarged.

A BPH is not necessarily associated with prostate cancer and it doesn’t raise the risk of developing cancer. Symptoms include difficulty urinating and a need to urinate more often.

Before resorting to surgery, many men are treated with medications that work to relax the prostate, such as Hytrin, Cardura or Flomax. 

However, if the prostate continues to enlarge, it’s typically treated with surgery. One common surgery is transurethral resection of the prostate, which involves placing a resectoscope through the tip of the penis and passing it through the urethra. That allows the surgeon to see the prostate as they trim parts of it away to unblock urine flow.

There are a variety of other minimally invasive procedures to treat an enlarged prostate, including laser prostatectomy and transurethral incision. Buckingham Palace did not confirm which type of procedure the King would undergo.

There was plenty of buzz — good and bad — about the royal family’s health statuses online after the announcements. 

As with most cases when celebrities or politicians announce health concerns, some health organizations took it as an opportunity to spread awareness.

The Urology Foundation posted on X this week wishing King Charles the best for his prostate treatment, adding that “We hope his openness will encourage others to talk about their own urology conditions and symptoms.”

The King of Britain wasn’t the only high-profile person to make news about prostate health concerns recently.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made headlines last week after he was hospitalized for complications following a prostatectomy. Shortly after, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center released a statement that Austin had prostate cancer.

In addition to the health complications facing Charles and Middleton, another person associated with the Royal Family was diagnosed with a medical malady.

A spokesperson announced over the weekend that Sarah, the Duchess of York, was diagnosed with melanoma, a malignant skin cancer.

According to the World Health Organization, there are 132,000 cases of melanoma skin cancers each year, the deadliest form of the cancer.

Of note, Sarah Ferguson, who is the ex-wife of Prince Andrew, was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer over the summer.

“The Duchess wants to thank the entire medical team which has supported her, particularly her dermatologist whose vigilance ensured the illness was detected when it was,” Ferguson’s representative stated. “She believes her experience underlines the importance of checking the size, shape, color and texture and emergence of new moles that can be a sign of melanoma.”

Digital Editor Jack O’Brien contributed additional reporting to this story.

For a February 2024 article on King Charles being diagnosed with cancer, click here.