Kate Middleton’s cancer announcement shows new transparency: Other royals who battled the disease

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Kate Middleton revealed that she had been diagnosed with cancer in a video message that stunned the world.

On Friday, the 42-year-old Princess of Wales announced she was undergoing preventative chemotherapy treatment after a planned abdominal surgery showed "cancer had been present." Middleton did not provide further details on the type of cancer or the extent in her video.

The royal's health update comes after months of speculation regarding her health and whereabouts. In January, Buckingham Palace announced she had been admitted to a hospital for a planned abdominal surgery Jan. 17.

kate middleton in video side by side with kate middleton in december
Kate Middleton revealed she was diagnosed with cancer amid a new era of royal transparency.

Middleton spent almost two weeks in the hospital following her surgery. In her video message, Middleton explained that her condition was thought to be "noncancerous" at the time.

KATE MIDDLETON ANNOUNCES SHE HAS CANCER, UNDERGOING CHEMOTHERAPY TREATMENT

The princess made her last public appearance on Dec. 25, and she has only been spotted a handful of times since.

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A photo of Middleton with her three children released by Kensington Palace on Mother's Day only amplified concerns about her well-being after it was revealed the image had been significantly altered.

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Middleton is not the first royal to be diagnosed with cancer but the public announcement of her condition and treatment signals a new era of transparency for the monarchy.

While, in the past, royal family members tried to keep their health struggles out of the public eye, King Charles III and Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, both recently revealed their own cancer diagnoses.

Here's a look at other members of the royal family who have publicly and privately battled the disease.

King Charles looking somber
King Charles III announced his own cancer diagnosis in a public statement.

King Charles III revealed in February he had been diagnosed with cancer after undergoing surgery to treat an enlarged prostate the prior month.

"During The King’s recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted," Buckingham Palace said in a statement. "Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer."

Charles, 75, was "advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties" while undergoing a series of "regular treatments," a statement from the palace said. It's unclear what cancer diagnosis he received.

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"Throughout this period, His Majesty will continue to undertake State business and official paperwork as usual," the statement added.

"The King is grateful to his medical team for their swift intervention, which was made possible thanks to his recent hospital procedure. He remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible."

The announcement stated that Charles chose to share his diagnosis to "prevent speculation and in the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer."

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Buckingham Palace had announced that Charles was undergoing "corrective procedure" for his enlarged prostate on Jan. 17, the same day his daughter-in-law Middleton was admitted to the hospital for abdominal surgery.

Charles and Kate both received treatment at the London Clinic, and the monarch reportedly visited her ahead of his procedure. Charles was discharged from the hospital after a three-day stay on Jan. 29, the same day that Middleton was released.

After Middleton's announcement, Buckingham Palace released a statement of support from Charles.

Charles said he is "so proud of Catherine for her courage in speaking as she did." The statement added that he has "remained in the closest contact with his beloved daughter-in-law throughout the past weeks."

Sarah Ferguson wears green dress at Venice Film Festival
Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, shared on Instagram that she was diagnosed with skin cancer.

Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, announced in January that she received her second cancer diagnosis within a year.

The 64-year-old revealed she had been diagnosed with skin cancer after announcing her breast cancer diagnosis in June 2023.

"I have been taking some time to myself as I have been diagnosed with malignant melanoma, a form of skin cancer, my second cancer diagnosis within a year after I was diagnosed with breast cancer this summer and underwent a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. It was thanks to the great vigilance of my dermatologist that the melanoma was detected when it was," she wrote in a lengthy post to Instagram.

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"Naturally another cancer diagnosis has been a shock but I’m in good spirits and grateful for the many messages of love and support," she said, before cautioning followers to stay vigilant about their health. "I believe my experience underlines the importance of checking the size, shape, color and texture and emergence of new moles that can be a sign of melanoma and urge anyone who is reading this to be diligent.

"I am incredibly thankful to the medical teams that have supported me through both of these experiences with cancer and to the MAYRLIFE Clinic for taking gentle care of me in the past weeks, allowing me time for recuperation. I am resting with family at home now, feeling blessed to have their love and support."

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Queen Elizabeth marks 70 years of service with Platinum Jubilee
Queen Elizabeth II reportedly battled myeloma in the last years of ther life.

Queen Elizabeth II privately battled myeloma, a painful bone marrow cancer, during the last years of her life, according to "Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait," a 2022 biography by Gyles Brandreth.

"I had heard that the Queen had a form of myeloma — bone marrow cancer — which would explain her tiredness and weight loss and those ‘mobility issues’ we were often told about during the last year or so of her life," Brandreth wrote in the book.

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Hilary Fordwich, a royal expert based in Maryland, noted that Queen Elizabeth loved to ride horses and did so up to 93 years of age.

"With her bone marrow cancer, she began to suffer mobility issues, which curtailed her riding," Fordwich told Fox News Digital.

The queen never publicly revealed a cancer diagnosis. She died in September 2022 at the age of 96. On her death certificate, her cause of death was listed as old age.

the queen mother
Queen Elizabeth privately battled two types of cancer.

Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, battled two types of cancer over her lifetime.

Elizabeth was Queen of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from Dec. 11, 1936, until Feb. 6, 1952

In December 1966, Elizabeth was diagnosed with colon cancer and underwent surgery to remove a tumor, according to biographer William Shawcross' 2009 book, "The Queen Mother: The Official Biography."

At the time, Clarence House announced that she underwent abdominal surgery to relieve a partial obstruction at King Edward VII Hospital.

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In July 1984, the queen received a breast cancer diagnosis and underwent a lumpectomy, per Shawcross' biography.

Neither diagnosis was revealed to the public during her lifetime. Elizabeth died of natural causes on March 30, 2002, at the age of 101.

King George VI
King George VI was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1951.

King George VI, who ascended to throne on Dec. 11, 1936 after his brother King Edward VIII's abdication, was diagnosed with lung cancer in September 1951.

"He was a chain smoker and had been advised by his doctors to smoke to help 'smooth his lungs' given his stutter," Fordwich told Fox News Digital.

However, the palace kept George's cancer diagnosis a secret from the public as well as the king himself, according to The Telegraph.

George underwent surgery to remove his left lung, which the palace claimed was due to "structural abnormalities."

After an initial period of recovery, the king’s health declined, and he died Feb. 6, 1952, at the age of 56. At the time, his cause of death was cited as coronary thrombosis due to his vascular disease. However, there has been speculation that he succumbed to cancer.

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor standing next to each other and looking serious
King Edward VIII suffered from throat cancer.

The Duke of Windsor, who served as King Edward VIII for only a year before abdicating the throne in December 1936 to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson, was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1971.

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The Duke, a longtime smoker, reportedly received cobalt therapy after his diagnosis. Edward died in Paris May 28, 1972, at the age of 77.

"He died peacefully," a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said at the time, per Town & Country.

edward vii
King Edward VII battled basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer.

King Edward VII, who reigned from Jan. 22, 1901, until his death in 1910, was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer, in 1907.

His cancer, which was found on the skin next to his nose, was reportedly cured with radium," according to Jane Ridley's 2021 biography "Bertie: A Life of Edward VII."

VACCINE FOR DEADLY SKIN CANCER SHOWS ‘GROUNDBREAKING’ RESULTS IN CLINICAL TRIAL

Edward suffered additional health issues later in life and died at the age of 68 on May 6, 1910, following a series of heart attacks.

The daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Princess Victoria, who was born Nov. 21, 1840, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1898.

The mother of eight died of the disease on Aug. 5, 1901, at the age of 60.

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Fox News Digital's Melissa Rudy, Caroline Thayer, Lauryn Overhultz and Tracy Wright contributed to this report. 


Original article source: Kate Middleton’s cancer announcement shows new transparency: Other royals who battled the disease