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King Charles, relatives and leaders express support for Princess Kate after cancer diagnosis

Catherine, the Princess of Wales, announced on Friday that she has been diagnosed with cancer, which was discovered following an abdominal surgery in January. In a video message, she said she was undergoing preventative chemotherapy and said the diagnosis was a huge shock. 

Family, politicians and other high-profile figures began sharing messages of support for the princess, who is 42 years old and shares three children with Prince William, the heir to the throne.

In a statement from Buckingham Palace, King Charles said he was proud of his daughter-in-law "for her courage in speaking as she did," The Associated Press reported.

Charles announced he was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year while being treated for an enlarged prostate, saying he would be undergoing treatment. The type of cancer was not specified.

Kate underwent abdominal surgery in London and said that while doctors did not initially think there was cancer, following the procedure they discovered the disease. She did not provide details on the type of cancer or the stage.

The king underwent treatment at the same hospital where Kate had surgery and said in the statement he had been in the "closest contact with his beloved daughter-in-law" in the past weeks.

Prince Harry and Meghan also expressed their support on Friday, wishing health and privacy for Kate. "We wish health and healing for Kate and the family, and hope they are able to do so privately and in peace," Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, said in a statement shared with news agencies.

Kate's brother, James Middleton, shared an old photograph of them when they were children. "Over the years, we have climbed many mountains together. As a family, we will climb this one with you too," he wrote on social media. 

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement posted on social media that the princess has "the love and support of the whole country as she continues her recovery."

"She has shown tremendous bravery with her statement today," Sunak continued. "In recent weeks 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. When it comes to matters of health, like everyone else, she must be afforded the privacy to focus on her treatment and be with her loving family."

The princess had not been seen in public since Dec. 24. The royal family announced she would be undergoing abdominal surgery in January and would need time to recover until at least Easter, on March 31. 

The news sparked conspiracy theories online, with many people weighing in, without substantiated facts, on what Kate might be going through. 

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre addressed the news, which was shared moments before Friday's White House press briefing.

"It is tragic news. It is devastating news and we certainly wish the Duchess of Cambridge full recovery," Jean-Pierre said during the briefing. "We want to respect their privacy, especially at this time. They have young children. They have a family, so we want to respect their privacy. I don't have anything to share on the president reaching out. We were just learning this literally as I was walking out."

London mayor Sadiq Khan also posted on social media after the news: "On behalf of Londoners, I wish the Princess of Wales a swift recovery as she undergoes treatment. My thoughts are with her & her family. Cancer has an impact on so many of us & her bravery in sharing her diagnosis will help raise awareness & encourage others to get checked."

British broadcaster Nigel Farage, a former politician, called the news "awful." "The media who attacked her over the recent photograph should hang their heads in shame," he wrote on social media.

The controversy surrounding the princess' whereabouts grew when an altered image of Kate and her three children, George, Charlotte and Louis, was released on Britain's Mother's Day. As rumors began to spread, Kate admitted in a social media post that she had edited the image. Kensington Palace refused to release an original, unedited version

In the video released Friday, Kate thanked those who offered her support and also said she and William have "been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family."

She also said she was thinking of those whose lives have been affected by cancer.

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