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Catherine's battle not just a personal story, but a beacon of hope

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In a week of royal news, this was the shocking development that no one expected. Tonight came the announcement from the Princess of Wales herself that she was being treated for cancer. Here is her shocking statement in full:

"I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you, personally, for all the wonderful messages of support and for your understanding whilst I have been recovering from surgery," she said.

"It has been an incredibly tough couple of months for our entire family, but I've had a fantastic medical team who have taken great care of me, for which I am so grateful.

"In January, I underwent major abdominal surgery in London and at the time, it was thought that my condition was non-cancerous. The surgery was successful. However, tests after the operation found cancer had been present. My medical team therefore advised that I should undergo a course of preventative chemotherapy and I am now in the early stages of that treatment.

"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.

"As you can imagine, this has taken time. It has taken me time to recover from major surgery in order to start my treatment. 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.

"As I have said to them, I am well and getting stronger every day by focusing on the things that will help me heal; in my mind, body and spirits.

"Having William by my side is a great source of comfort and reassurance too. As is the love, support and kindness that has been shown by so many of you. It means so much to us both.

"We hope that you will understand that, as a family, we now need some time, space and privacy while I complete my treatment. My work has always brought me a deep sense of joy and I look forward to being back when I am able, but for now I must focus on making a full recovery.

"At this time, I am also thinking of all those whose lives have been affected by cancer. For everyone facing this disease, in whatever form, please do not lose faith or hope. You are not alone."

At the end of what can only be described as a bizarre week, where we talked about everything from Catherine look-alikes to her head being photoshopped on someone else's body, this was not what anyone expected.

The timing of this announcement is pertinent. This was not in response to the furor that has been beyond fever pitch on social media about the Princess of Wales, her health status and her whereabouts. The timing was all to do with her children.

Today, they vacated from school for the Easter break. The Wales' decided that this was the perfect opportunity to tell the children, without them having to face school the next day, and so they could be safe within the bosom of the family to process the information.

It's thought that the family will now spend the rest of the Easter holiday in Norfolk, a community that holds them close and gives them the privacy they need. We shouldn't expect to see the Princess of Wales at church on Easter Sunday as expected. This statement, filmed by BBC Studios, and delivered by the Princess of Wales herself, certainly gives us the transparency and accountability that we have been asking for from Kensington Palace over the past few weeks. It also humanizes this particular royal story and reminds us that in between all the conspiracy theories and memes is a real live Princess, mother, wife, daughter, who is living with cancer.

Messages of support have not only flooded in from across the U.K. but from around the globe, including public figures like Meghan McCain and celebrities such as Olivia Munn, Katie Couric and Catherine Zeta-Jones, all commending the Princess of Wales' grace and courage.

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in a statement on X said, "My thoughts are with the Princess of Wales, Prince of Wales, the Royal Family and in particular her three children at this difficult time. The Princess of Wales has the love and support of the whole country as she continues her recovery." He went on to say, "When it comes to matters of health, like everyone else, she must be afforded the privacy to focus on her treatment and be with her loving family. I know I speak for the whole country in wishing her a full and speedy recovery and look forward to seeing her back in action when she's ready."

King Charles III also voiced his pride and support with Buckingham Palace saying, "His Majesty is 'so proud of Catherine for her courage in speaking as she did.' Following their time in hospital together, HM has 'remained in the closest contact with his beloved daughter-in-law throughout the past weeks.' Both Their Majesties 'will continue to offer their love and support to the whole family through this difficult time.'"

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also lent their support to the Princess of Wales. In a statement to Harper's Bazaar, they said, "We wish health and healing for Kate and the family, and hope they are able to do so privately and in peace."

The Princes of Wales' ongoing battle with cancer and the subsequent chemotherapy treatments mean there have had to be adjustments within the Royal Family's duties and public engagements. Catherine has had to pause her public duties, missing several engagements as advised by her medical team to focus on her recovery. The redistribution of responsibilities has seen other royals stepping up, with Princess Royal Anne and the Duke of Edinburgh taking on 11 and two engagements, respectively, and Queen Camilla attending the Maundy Service. Prince Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, have assumed more senior roles, while minor working royals like the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester are restricted to local events.

Despite her reduced public appearances, the Princes of Wales has continued to fulfil some duties through virtual meetings and engagements, highlighting her commitment to her roles. But ultimately, we are in the unprecedented situation where two of the principal members of the Royal Family are out of action, both battling cancer at the same time.

The profound impact of the Princess of Wales' cancer diagnosis and health journey extends beyond the confines of royal engagements, touching hearts across the globe. The narrative of her diagnosis, treatment and the consequent adjustments within the royal duties underscores the human aspect of the Royal Family's life amidst their public roles.

Her openness in sharing her battle is not just a personal story but a beacon of hope for many facing similar trials, emphasizing the importance of support, hope and unity in the face of adversity.

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