Royal Though She May Be, Princess Kate Is Going Through the “Same Set of Emotions and Worries and Fears” as Anyone With Cancer Would, Former Palace Press Secretary Says

Though her treatment is progressing, Kate herself said earlier this month that she is “not out of the woods.”

Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Getty Images)

She may be the Princess of Wales, the future queen, and one of the most famous women in the world, but Kate is going through the “same emotions and fears” as anyone with cancer is, a former Palace press secretary told People about how Kate is handling receiving cancer treatment. 

Kate Middleton

Kate made a triumphant return to public life on June 15, but will likely still be sparsely seen as she continues to receive treatment.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Following a planned abdominal surgery in January at The London Clinic, cancer was detected, and Kate announced her diagnosis to the world on March 22. After six months out of the glare of the spotlight, on June 15 Kate returned—albeit briefly—to public duty to attend Trooping the Colour, which annually celebrates the birthday of the monarch. Coincidentally, King Charles is also battling cancer following a routine procedure at The London Clinic that took place in January.

“She might be the Princess of Wales, but she is still a mother and wife and going through the same set of emotions and worries and fears as anyone else in that set of circumstances would be,” said Ailsa Anderson, former press secretary to Queen Elizabeth. 

A source speaking to People said that, though Kate radiated strength at Trooping the Colour just over a week ago, “The treatment [for cancer] is punishing, and it is different for different people,” they said. “And the side effects can be unforgiving.” That said, royal author Sally Bedell Smith told People that “It would have been difficult to tell that either the King or the princess had been ill and undergoing some pretty rugged treatment,” she said. 

Kate Middleton

Princess of Wales she very much is, but cancer doesn't care about any of that; Kate is dealing with it all the best she can, taking it day by day.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Kate chose to attend Trooping the Colour because “Family is really important to the Princess of Wales, and she wanted to be there to support her family,” a royal source told People. This is also why she, through it all, is continuing to show up for her kids Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, as they remain her No. 1 priority: “The children won’t remember Mummy shaking hands or really care,” royal historian Amanda Foreman said of the Wales trio, whom Kate apparently calls “the kiddies.” Foreman continued that “They will recall Mummy making cakes [or when] she went off to the local shop and bought something or took them somewhere.”

As Kate continues treatment for cancer, her privacy needs are stronger than ever, People reports, as are the privacy needs of her three children and her husband, Prince William. A former Palace aide previously told the publication that, when it comes to the Wales family—and Kate’s cancer diagnosis specifically—“The circle of knowledge was very tight,” they said. Foreman further expounded upon this, telling the outlet “It is really impressive how they are still able to command all this secrecy,” she said. “They are totally running this.” 

Prince William kisses Kate Middleton on the cheek

William and Kate, together for over 20 years, have never been closer amid her health scare.

(Image credit: Getty)

As for her relationship with William, “To use the late Queen [Elizabeth]’s language, they are each other’s strength and stay for all these years,” Bedell Smith said. “She will continue to be a real source of strength for him as he prepares to be the next King. But since this befell them, he has been a huge support for her—not only behind closed doors, but also in going out in public and carrying out his job. Watching the two of them on the palace balcony [at Trooping the Colour], you could see their bond—and their bond with the children.”

Bedell Smith continued of the June 15 parade and flypast that “There were three generations there,” she said. “It was a perfect way for Kate to reenter the public sphere at this event, which is so full of tradition going back hundreds of years, and is a symbol of the continuity of the royal family.”

King Charles and Kate Middleton at Trooping the Colour

Kate's appearance at Trooping the Colour meant so much to those that love and follow the royal family, but it meant so much to Kate's family, too.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Anderson added that Kate attending Trooping the Colour—an annual staple in the royal diary every June—might have been just what she needed after a tumultuous start to 2024: “When you’re going through something that is not routine, it is great to have that anchor of normality,” she said. She added that “The monarchy is going through one of the most difficult sets of challenges, but it just felt like a corner had been turned.”

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.