Princess Catherine Says She Delayed Announcement of Cancer to Break News to Her Children First

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The future Queen of the United Kingdom shocked the world on Friday when she revealed her cancer diagnosis, but revealed she had delayed making the news public until she had been able to explain what was happening to her own children “in a way that is appropriate for them”.

It was revealed on Friday that Princess Catherine, the wife of the heir apparent and future King, has been diagnosed with cancer, the news coming just weeks after it was revealed the King, too, is undergoing cancer treatment.

While Catherine’s now three-month absence from public life and the speculation that has gone with it, and her packed schedule as a front-line working Royal before that has generally filled public perception, the importance of her role as a mother to three children came front-and-centre in the Princess’s statement on Friday. While not stating exactly how long she had known about her cancer diagnosis, Catherine made clear she had delayed the news going public before she and her husband were able to break the news in an “appropriate” way to their children, as well as reassuring them their mother is going to be “OK”.

The Princess said:

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.

The timing of the announcement was reportedly linked to the fact that Princess Catherine and the Prince of Wales’ children finished their school term today for the Easter Holidays, breaking up for three-and-a-half weeks until mid-April.

The Times of London reports:

A Kensington Palace spokesman said: “The princess wanted to share this information when she and the prince felt it was right for them as a family.”

Aides say that the announcement was timed to coincide with the start of the children’s school Easter holidays, which began at 4pm on Friday, two hours before the princess’s video was released.

Kate and William were waiting until then to break the news to the world so that their children might be shielded from the media coverage they knew would follow. No doubt it also meant that they could avoid any unnecessary questions or comments in the school playground for a few weeks.

It’s believed the couples’ children were informed of her diagnosis before she made her video message, according to The Times.

All three of the couples’ children attend a private, fee-paying preparatory school — so called because they prepare young children to take the entrance examination to get into one of the country’s elite schools. Until recently, children of the Royal Family — like many British aristocrats — did not attend school at all, but were taught by private tutors, and in many cases by the great geniuses of their age. Indeed, even the United Kingdom’s best known, most exclusive, and most elite schools  were founded in the last millennia to provide a free education for what were called then “poor boys” — those who could not afford private tutoring at home.

That those exclusive schools are called ‘Public’ schools calls back to those comparatively humble origins, although centuries of change dragged them away from that original purpose to become elite and highly expensive centres for elite education instead.

Princess Catherine and Prince William accompany their children (from left to right: George, Louis, and Charlotte) to school on September 7, 2022, in Bracknell, England. (Jonathan Brady/Getty Images)

Catherine, Princess of Wales, Princess Charlotte of Wales, Prince George of Wales, Prince William, Prince of Wales, Prince Louis of Wales attend the Christmas Morning Service at Sandringham Church on December 25, 2023, in Sandringham, Norfolk. (Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Catherine, Prince Louis, Prince George, and Princess Charlotte attend a polo match on July 10, 2019, in Wokingham, England. (Samir Hussein/WireImage)

The present King, Charles III, was the first heir apparent in British Royal history to attend school, and was the first Royal to graduate from university.

Princess Catherine’s eldest son Prince George is ten years old and, after his father Prince William, is the second-in-line for the British throne. Princess Charlotte is eight years old, and Prince Louis is five. They live with their parents at Adelaide Cottage in Windsor, where they moved in 2022 from Kensington Palace in London. The family had previously lived in Norfolk, where heir apparent Prince William worked as a helicopter search-and-rescue pilot.