The Real Backstory on Why Kate Middleton Finally Went Public with Her Cancer Diagnosis

Kensington Palace/X

After weeks of speculation and mounting conspiracy theories, Kate Middleton revealed that she has been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing treatment in the aftermath of an abdominal surgery in January.

The Princess of Wales released a video message on Friday afternoon to share the health update and ask for privacy. 

On Monday’s show, Megyn was joined by Dan Wootton, host of Dan Wootton Outspoken, to discuss what led to the unprecedented announcement and what comes next for the princess.

The Message

On Friday, Kensington Palace shared a two-minute video of Catherine offering an update on her condition. It marked the first time she has been seen in any official capacity since it was announced in January that she had undergone a “planned abdominal surgery” and would be out of the public eye until Easter.

The Princess of Wales, who reportedly wrote the message herself, shared that she has been diagnosed with an undisclosed type of cancer after initially believing her condition was non-cancerous. “The surgery was successful. However, tests after the operation found cancer had been present,” she stated. “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.”

The mom of three said the last couple of months have been “incredibly tough” on her and her family. “It has taken me time to recover from major surgery in order to start my treatment,” she said. “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.”

She also thanked the public “for all the wonderful messages of support” and asked for privacy. “We hope that you will understand that, as a family, we now need some time, space, and privacy while I complete my treatment,” she pleaded. “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.”

Wootton said the filmed statement was both “extraordinary” and “unusual” from the Royal Family. “Usually such an announcement would be made on paper,” he noted. “But after the sort of frenzied speculation, which had gone all around the world… she knew she had to step up and it had to be a video.”

The Timing

The update came just a week before the original Easter recovery timeline shared by Kensington Palace in the immediate aftermath of Catherine’s surgery. It also came amid an onslaught of speculation and criticism about the lack of transparency surrounding her health – especially in the wake of all major photo agencies killing a Mother’s Day photo of the princess and her children due to manipulation and editing. 

Wootton – who had shared on The Megyn Kelly Show earlier this month that the princess was “very unwell” – noted the announcement has not totally quieted the rumor mill. And part of that might be due to the fact that the Royal Family may have misled the public on what was wrong with Catherine.

At the same time King Charles revealed he had begun treatment for cancer in January, Kensington Palace characterized the princess’ condition as “non-cancerous.” The world now knows that is not the case and medical professionals have cast doubt on the notion that the royals did not know about Catherine’s cancer until months later. 

Megyn said that secrecy may end up further fanning the flames. “I will say, if they are still misleading in the description of how it all went down, it just undermines the whole thing even more because people – when they sense they’re being misled – will hold on like a dog with a bone,” she noted. “And in this case, prior to Kate’s announcement, we were being misled.”

As Wootton explained, this behavior is somewhat typical of the monarchy. “The Royal Family has a long history of playing down medical issues,” he said. “When it came to Kate, clearly this was particularly sensitive given the timing… Just imagine if, in the course of two hours, it had been announced that both the king and the future queen were suffering from cancer.”

There may have been a hope, he said, that the Princess of Wales’ treatment remained entirely private. “I think it is quite possible that there was at least some sort of expectation that cancer would be found [during her surgery], but the decision was made not to announce it publicly,” Wootton explained. “Perhaps they hoped never to have announced it publicly. However, when it became clear just how serious this was and also just how much the world was not going to accept a lengthy absence from Catherine, the PR strategy changed.” 

As a mother, Megyn said she understood why there may have been a desire to delay the announcement. “They needed to be extra careful around this… because she’s got three little ones. I mean, any mother could understand… you’d want to handle that in exactly the right way,” she shared. “Maybe they did delay telling the children, as they’re claiming, until they could spend three weeks straight with them [during spring break]… To me, that does make sense.”

But she said Kensington Palace will continue to be under a microscope for as long as Catherine is recuperating. “Now more than ever, they need to be extremely explicit and honest,” Megyn concluded. “They can say this is where we’re drawing the lines, but there can be absolutely no missteps like the ones that we’ve seen so far.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Wootton by tuning in to episode 749 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.