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Kate’s cancer diagnosis: The royal family’s recent health scares

Prince George, the Princess of Wales, Prince Louis, the Prince of Wales, Princess Charlotte, the King and Queen Camilla on the balcony of Buckingham Palace (Victoria Jones/PA)
Prince George, the Princess of Wales, Prince Louis, the Prince of Wales, Princess Charlotte, the King and Queen Camilla on the balcony of Buckingham Palace (Victoria Jones/PA)

The Princess of Wales has announced she is having treatment for cancer and spoken of an “incredibly tough couple of months for our entire family”.

The shock health news follows the King’s diagnosis with cancer, with the condition discovered during his recent hospital treatment.

Here is the timeline of the health troubles facing the royal family.

Monday December 25

In her last public appearance before the news of her hospital treatment, Kate was seen on Christmas Day in Sandringham walking to church with the rest of her family.

She held hands with her daughter Princess Charlotte and looked happy and relaxed as she grinned at well-wishers while strolling to the service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Norfolk.

Tuesday January 9

Kate turned 42 on January 9, and while the monarchy’s official social media accounts celebrated the day with a behind the scenes photo of Kate at the coronation, there was unusually no customary response from Kensington Palace this year thanking well-wishers for their messages.

Tuesday January 16

Kate is secretly admitted to The London Clinic and undergoes abdominal surgery.

She attends the clinic rather than King Edward VII’s Hospital which is usually the go-to establishment for royal medical matters.

Wednesday January 17

2pm – Kensington Palace announces the princess’s operation and says she will remain in the private hospital for 10-14 days.

She is not expected to return to duties until after Easter, taking up to three months to recover.

Royal visit to Sebby’s Corner
The Princess of Wales during a visit to Sebby’s Corner in Barnet, north London in November (Frank Augstein/PA)

The Prince of Wales steps back from his official duties temporarily to care of his wife and children.

The exact nature of Kate’s condition is kept private, but it is not cancerous and Kensington Palace says the planned procedure was successful.

3.25pm – Buckingham Palace announces the King, 75, is to have treatment for a benign enlarged prostate and will be admitted to hospital in a few days.

Royals attend church service
The King at a Sunday church service in Sandringham in early January (Joe Giddens/PA)

A source later says the princess is “doing well”.

Thursday January 18

The Prince of Wales spends time at his wife’s bedside, driving himself away from the back entrance during the low-key, private visit.

A serious-looking William was seen leaving the private The London Clinic at about 12.35pm.

The Queen says the King is “fine” and “looking forward to getting back to work” during a visit to the Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Royal visit to Aberdeen Art Gallery
The Queen has carried on with her engagements (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Friday January 19

The King flies back from Scotland with the Queen and heads to his Sandringham estate in Norfolk to rest ahead of the procedure.

Sunday January 21

It is announced that the King’s former sister-in-law, Sarah, Duchess of York, has malignant melanoma, a form of skin cancer.

It is less than a year since the duchess, 64, was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.

Royals attends Christmas Day Church service
Sarah, Duchess of York, attended the Christmas Day church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham (Joe Giddens/PA)

Monday January 22

The Queen tells 86-year-old well-wisher Jessie Jackson that the King is “fine”, and thanks her for asking, while she carries out engagements in Swindon.

Sarah, Duchess of York, meanwhile, describes her shock at having skin cancer but says she is in “good spirits” and “grateful for the many messages of love and support”, in a post on Instagram.

Royal visit to Swindon
The Queen receiving get well cards for her husband the King in Swindon (Adrian Dennis/PA)

Tuesday January 23

Kate’s hospital stay passes the one-week mark.

Camilla urges the King to take it easy.

An insider told The Sun: “The Queen has told him he needs to slow down a bit.”

Thursday January 25

The King carried out behind the scenes official duties, meeting academics from Cambridge University at Sandringham House.

The King arrives back in London from Norfolk ready for his treatment.

Friday January 26

The King, with the Queen at his side, is admitted to the London Clinic for treatment for an enlarged prostate and also visits the Princess of Wales, who is recovering in the same hospital.

Charles took time to visit his daughter-in-law Kate, who is on the 11th day of her hospital stay after undergoing a successful major operation.

King Charles hospital visit
Camilla visiting the King in hospital (James Manning/PA)

Monday January 29

The King is discharged from hospital and waves at well-wishers.

Kate leaves the clinic the same day to continue her recovery at home.

Wednesday January 31

Camilla says the King is “getting on, doing his best” as she opened a Maggie’s cancer support centre at the Royal Free Hospital in London.

Maggie’s Royal Free opening
The Queen during her visit to London’s Royal Free Hospital to officially open Maggie’s Royal Free, a new cancer support centre (Paul Grover/Daily Telegraph/PA)

Sunday February 4

The King and Queen attend church in Sandringham, with Charles waving at well-wishers.

Monday February 5

Kensington Palace confirms the Prince of Wales is returning to official duties this week, beginning with an investiture.

Royals attend church service
The King and Queen arrive to attend a Sunday church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk (Joe Giddens/PA)

6pm – Buckingham Palace announces the King has a form of cancer, but not prostate cancer, and has started treatment as an outpatient.

He will not carry out public-facing duties, but will carry on with behind the scenes state business and official papers.

Wednesday February 7
The Prince of Wales spoke about the King’s cancer diagnosis for the first time and thanked the public for their “kind messages of support”.

William’s words of praise, delivered during a fundraising gala dinner, also recognised those who wished the Princess of Wales well, as she recovers from planned abdominal surgery.

He told the guests “It means a great deal to us all.”

Monday March 4

The Princess of Wales was photographed for the first time since undergoing abdominal surgery.

Kate was pictured near Windsor Castle on Monday in the passenger seat of a car, according to TMZ.

The news site said she was wearing dark sunglasses in the black Audi which was being driven by her mother, Carole Middleton.

The photo is understood to have been taken by paparazzi.

Tuesday March 5

The Army removed a claim on its website that the Princess of Wales was reviewing Trooping the Colour in June.

Tickets were being sold on the official website for the June 8 military spectacle, advertising an appearance by Kate, on Tuesday evening.

Sunday March 10

Questions were raised that the first picture of the Princess of Wales to be released after her abdominal surgery may have been manipulated before it was posted on social media by Kensington Palace.

The photo of Kate and her children, said by the palace to have been taken by the Prince of Wales in Windsor earlier this week, was posted to mark Mother’s Day.

In the post, she said: “Thank you for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months.

“Wishing everyone a Happy Mother’s Day. C.”

The picture shows Kate sitting in a chair with her arms around Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, who are on either side of her, with Prince George standing behind, as all four smile at the camera.

The photograph was shared with media on Sunday but it was withdrawn by international picture agencies later the same day because of concerns that the image had been manipulated.

Monday March 11

The Princess of Wales publicly took the blame for the manipulated family photograph released by Kensington Palace as she issued a personal apology for the “confusion”.

Kate said sorry with a statement on social media which read: “Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing.

“I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused.

“I hope everyone celebrating had a very happy Mother’s Day. C.”

Monday March 18

The Princess of Wales was filmed smiling alongside her husband during a visit to a farm shop in Windsor.

Kate’s recovery from surgery appeared to have progressed after footage obtained by The Sun showed her and William at the local business on Saturday.

In the video the princess can be seen with her hair down, wearing a black jacket and leggings, chatting with William and carrying a large white bag.

Tuesday March 19

An investigation was reportedly launched at the London Clinic over claims staff tried to access the Princess of Wales’s private medical records.

At least one member of staff tried to access Kate’s notes while she was a patient at the private hospital in central London in January, The Mirror reported.

The UK privacy and data protection watchdog said it had received a breach report.

Friday March 22

6pm – in a recorded video message broadcast to the nation, the Princess of Wales announced she is having chemotherapy after tests following her surgery found cancer had been present.