As Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis Absorb the News of Their Mother’s Cancer Diagnosis, a Longtime Family Friend Notes Their “Extraordinary Resilience”

The Wales family of five are taking time together privately as Princess Kate recovers.

Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Nearly every aspect of the Prince and Princess of Wales’ lives revolve around their three children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. Health conditions like cancer are extremely humbling—the disease doesn’t care whether you’re rich, famous, or royal, and no doubt the Wales trio are reeling from the news of their mother’s diagnosis with cancer. As Kate said herself in her video message—released to the public on March 22, reportedly to coincide with the kids’ Easter break from Lambrook School—“It has been a incredibly tough couple of months for our entire family,” she said, adding that “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 okay. 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 mind, body, and spirits.”

Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis

The Wales family of five are about as tight-knit as a family can be.

(Image credit: Getty/The Prince and Princess of Wales/Matt Porteous)

Per People, the kids “are a special source of support as she receives cancer treatment.” William and Kate are getting through her health crisis, the outlet reports, because of the spirits of George, Charlotte, and Louis, who “buoy them with smiles back,” a longtime family friend told the publication. “Having fun together when they can is very important.”

After the kids went on break from school on March 22, the Wales family of five has been at their country home, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk on the Sandringham Estate—a long-held favorite retreat. As such, the fivesome missed the traditional Easter service at St. George’s Chapel, which they typically attend. “The children are at the center of their world,” the friend added. 

Kate Middleton, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis

As the kids learned of their mom's diagnosis, a longtime family friend pointed out their "extraordinary resilience" as they cope and adjust to the news.

(Image credit: Matt Porteous/Prince and Princess of Wales)

Royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith said “We now understand the logic of the timing—waiting for the children to break up from school,” she said of Kate’s decision to announce her diagnosis via video message 11 days ago. “And she struck a pitch-perfect note.”

As Kate recovers, she’s leaning not just on her kids but on her parents, Michael and Carole Middleton; her siblings, Pippa and James; and, of course, her husband of 13 years as of April 29, William. “This is about supporting her and her feeling supported,” the friend said. “It is a joint effort. She doesn’t feel isolated at all. The nuclear family that they [William and Kate] have created so well is an immense support, not only to him, but to Catherine, too.”

Prince William Kate Middleton

William is a pillar of support to his wife as she moves through this difficult season.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The crux of Kate’s life’s work is children, especially in their early years—and the work is lived out nowhere more than in the lives of her own three children. They are her reason for everything, and William too; and just as she has supported them throughout their young lives—and continues to do so during this surely confusing time for them all—they are there for their mom, too. “You take heart from the extraordinary resilience of children,” the longtime family friend said.

May the entire family of five be at peace this Easter break, continually feeling the well-wishes of the world surrounding them as they enjoy time off together.

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.