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Worldwide support pours in for Kate, the Princess of Wales, after shocking cancer reveal

LONDON (AP) — Support poured in from around the world Saturday for Kate, the Princess of Wales, after she revealed in a candid video message that she is undergoing chemotherapy for cancer following major abdominal surgery.

The princess's poignant video, in which she spoke about the “huge shock” and “incredibly tough couple of months” for her family after her diagnosis, came after weeks of frenzied speculation on social media about her health and well-being.

“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,” Kate said in the video, which was recorded Wednesday in Windsor.

“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," she added, referring to her three young children.

Kate, 42, did not say what type of cancer was discovered after her surgery. She said she is now in the early stages of preventative chemotherapy, and is “getting stronger every day.”

Her condition was initially thought to be noncancerous, until post-surgery tests revealed the diagnosis, she said.

The announcement will at least partly tamp down the intense and sometimes fantastical speculation and conspiracy theories about Kate's condition that have multiplied on social media since Kensington Palace announced in mid-January that she had been hospitalized for unspecified abdominal surgery.

Hashtags including “WeLoveYouCatherine” and “GetWellSoonCatherine” were trending Friday on X, formerly Twitter, while political leaders, celebrities and cancer survivors sent messages of support.

“She has been subjected to intense scrutiny and has been unfairly treated by certain sections of the media around the world and on social media,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said. “She has shown tremendous bravery with her statement.”

U.S. President Joe Biden posted on social media, saying he and first lady Jill Biden “join millions around the world in praying for your full recovery, Princess Kate.”

King Charles III, who is also undergoing treatment for an unspecified type of cancer, said in a statement that he was “so proud of Catherine for her courage in speaking as she did." Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, who have been estranged from the royal family since their move to California in 2020, said they wished “health and healing for Kate and the family."

Until Friday, there had been little information about Kate's condition, and her monthslong disappearance from public view fueled a flurry of rumor-mongering about the “missing” future queen.

Officials had said only that Kate's surgery in January was successful and recuperation would keep the princess away from public duties until April.

Feelings of distrust about the royals gained ground earlier this month after Kate acknowledged that she altered an official photo released to mark Mother’s Day in the U.K.

The photo, which was meant to calm and reassure the public, triggered a backlash after The Associated Press and other news agencies retracted the image over concerns it was manipulated.

Even a video published last week by The Sun and TMZ that appeared to show Kate and William shopping near their home did not dispel the negative coverage, with some armchair detectives refusing to believe the video showed Kate at all.

In contrast, many of Saturday's newspaper front pages featured sympathetic headlines, with The Sun proclaiming: “Kate, you are not alone.” The Daily Telegraph featured an opinion piece that read: “Sickening online trolls reveling in Princess's misery ought to be ashamed.” The news also featured prominently in international newspapers from Italy to France.

“I understand why she was keeping it a secret, but I am glad everyone knows now so they can not make assumptions," said Madeleine Pullitzer, an American student in Paris.

Well-wishers left flowers Saturday outside Windsor Castle, and many royal fans visiting Windsor and Kensington Palace said they were touched by Kate's personal message about her health struggles.

“Your heart just goes out for her and her family, you know? I guess we all feel for her," said Natalie Richardson, who was visiting from New Zealand. It's “such a big thing to face for anyone.”

Like Charles before her, Kate's decision to disclose her health condition was also praised for encouraging the public to think more about their own health and get worrying symptoms checked.

Kate directly addressed all those affected by cancer in her video, saying: “Please do not lose faith or hope.”

“This announcement is a stark and shocking reminder that cancer is no respecter of age or social status," said oncologist and cancer awareness campaigner Pat Price. “A cancer diagnosis is always deeply concerning, but the fact that the princess is so young and very much in the prime of her life makes this news all the more upsetting and unsettling.”

It was not immediately clear when Kate would return to public life.

Kate and William were not expected to join other royals for the traditional Easter Sunday service in Windsor.

“The Princess will return to official duties when she is cleared to do so by her medical team," a Kensington Palace spokesperson said. “She is in good spirits and is focused on making a full recovery.”

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Associated Press video journalists Oleg Cetinic in Paris and Mayuko Ono in Windsor, England, contributed to this report.