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UK: Prince William returns to public duties for first time since wife Kate's cancer diagnosis

Princess Kate Middleton announced on March 22 that she was undergoing treatment for an unspecified form of cancer after she had an abdominal surgery in January. There was intense speculation over Kate's health after Kensington Palace posted a 'heavily edited' picture of her family.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee London Published on: April 18, 2024 18:51 IST
Uk, Prince William, Kate Middleton cancer
Image Source : AP (FILE) Prince William with his wife Princess Kate Middleton.

London: William, Prince of Wales, returned to public duties on Thursday for the first time since the revelation of his wife Kate's cancer diagnosis last month at a difficult time as health problems continue to overshadow the princess and King Charles III. He is scheduled to visit a surplus food redistribution centre and a youth club it serves, highlighting efforts to reduce food waste as a way to cut greenhouse gas emissions and feed people in need.

The prince stepped away from public duties after Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales, announced on March 22 that she was undergoing treatment for an unspecified type of cancer. "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," said Kate. "This of course came as a huge shock, and William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family."

Two royal family members have cancer

Dressed in jeans and a jumper, Kate looked pale and tired in the March video. Prince Harry and Megan Markle have extended words of support to the Princess. Kate, 42, hadn't been seen publicly since Christmas and underwent an abdominal surgery at the London Clinic in January. Kensington Palace had given little detail about Kate's condition beyond saying it wasn't cancer-related, the surgery was successful and recuperation would keep the princess away from public duties until April. 

William is set to visit a surplus food distribution charity — Surplus to Supper — in Surrey, southwest of London, where he will lend a hand in the kitchen and help load prepared meals into delivery vans. He will then travel to a youth centre in west London that benefits from the food deliveries. 

Both King Charles and Kate have been largely absent from the public stage since January due to health problems, leaving Queen Camilla, Princess Anne and other members of the royal family to pick up the slack on the whirl of events and awards ceremonies that dominate the work of Britain's monarchy. Charles announced on February 5 that he had been diagnosed with an undisclosed type of cancer following treatment for an enlarged prostate two weeks earlier.

Kate's 'edited photo' controversy

There had been massive speculation over Kate's health prior to the cancer revelation after the Kensington Palace announced her surgery. The Princess had not been seen in public when a photograph uploaded by the Palace was found to be "heavily edited" and retracted from international news agencies, for which Kate had to apologise.

Kate had posted a family photograph with her children, initially, all media houses had published it but later retracted citing "manipulated". Later, she admitted that the image was altered digitally and said she "occasionally experiments with editing". 

After Kate was forced to apologise for the “confusion” over her picture with her three children, Reuters confirmed that another picture taken by the Princess of Wales and uploaded by the Kensington Palace last year was edited in at least eight places. The photo was released in April last year showing the late Queen Elizabeth with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

"Reuters is updating its procedures related to vetting images from Kensington Palace after confirming a second altered photograph. Consistent with the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles, Reuters requires that photos meet its editorial standards for image quality, accuracy and reliability," said a Reuters spokesperson.

(with inputs from agencies)

ALSO READ | Kate 'needs to be here': Prince William after alleged video of her first appearance since surgery


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