Princess Kate has put an end to weeks of speculation about her health with a personal message. In a video that was published on William and Kate’s official Instagram channel, among others, the 42-year-old announced a shocking diagnosis: The Princess of Wales was diagnosed with cancer.

“In January I had major abdominal surgery in London and at the time it was assumed that I did not have cancer. The operation was successful. However, tests after the operation revealed that cancer was present,” says Kate in the approximately two minute long recording. Her doctors recommended preventive chemotherapy and she is now in the initial phase of this treatment.

As she tells this, Kate sits alone on a park bench, wearing a striped sweater and blue jeans, her hair falling in waves over her shoulders. The 42-year-old looks pale, thin and exhausted. The fact that she apparently felt pressured to inform the public about her illness at this time due to the sometimes absurd theories about her condition also met with criticism. Royal expert Jennie Bond told Sky News television: “I think Kate should never have felt that it was necessary to sit in front of a television camera and comment on her health.”

The video was recorded on Wednesday this week in Windsor by employees of the production company BBC Studios. The team is said to be present during the coronation celebrations of King Charles III. and at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. So apparently Kate knew and trusted the people who recorded her message. The BBC itself made it clear that it had no influence on the content of Kate’s message. Like all other British media, she only found out about the news when Kensington Palace published it on Friday evening at 6 p.m. local time.

The fact that the video was published two days after it was recorded is probably no coincidence. The Easter holidays begin in Great Britain. Princess Kate and Prince William also wanted to take their three children George, Charlotte and Louis out of the firing line and protect them from unnecessary questions in everyday life. In her video, Kate says: “Most importantly, we needed time to explain everything to George, Charlotte and Louis in a way they could understand and to reassure them that I would be fine.” During the holidays, the family wants to stand together during this difficult time. Kate clearly asked for “time, space and privacy” while she completed her treatment.

It is currently completely unclear when the 42-year-old will appear in public again. After her operation in January, the palace initially announced that Kate would be attending appointments again after Easter. The royal family traditionally attends a church service at St George’s Chapel in Windsor on Easter Sunday. Neither Kate nor William will fulfill this obligation this year. At the end of February, the heir to the throne had already canceled his participation in a church service for his late godfather Constantine of Greece at short notice. At the time, the palace only cited “personal reasons.” As we now know, Princess Kate received her cancer diagnosis in February and began chemotherapy.

Despite her own situation, Kate also finds words for other people suffering from cancer in her video. “To everyone facing this disease, no matter what form it takes, please do not lose faith or hope. You are not alone,” she says. What is significant is the location that Kate chose to record her message: a park in Windsor where daffodils are blooming. The yellow flowers represent hope and life. They have therefore been considered a symbol in the fight against cancer for many decades.

Sources:  BBC, The Guardian, Daily Mail