Catherine, Princess of Wales, has been diagnosed with cancer and has begun chemotherapy, she announced in a video message on Friday, in which she described the past two months as “incredibly tough for our entire family.”

Her diagnosis follows that of King Charles III, who announced his own cancer diagnosis and treatment in early February. It comes after a period of intense uncertainty about the health of Catherine, who underwent abdominal surgery in January and largely disappeared from public view as she tried to recuperate.

Like the king, Catherine, 42, did not specify what kind of cancer she has, but asked the public and news media to respect her desire for privacy.

“We hope that you will understand that, as a family, we now need some time, space and privacy while I complete my treatment,” said Catherine, who is the wife of Prince William and a future queen.

“This of course came as a huge shock,” Catherine said, “and William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family. As you can imagine, this has taken time.”

Catherine’s announcement is a grim coda to a period of increasingly wild rumors about her health and well-being. But it plunges the British royal family into a period of even deeper uncertainty, with both the 75-year-old monarch and his daughter-in-law, the wife of his eldest son and heir and the mother of Prince George, the second in line to throne, facing grave health problems.

The London Clinic where Catherine had abdominal surgery in January.Credit…Leon Neal/Getty Images

In her statement, Catherine said that at the time her surgery was performed, doctors believed that her condition was noncancerous. The surgery was successful, she said, but in further tests, the doctor found evidence of cancer. They recommended a course of chemotherapy, which she said she had recently begun.

“It has taken me time to recover from major surgery in order to start my treatment,” Catherine said in the video. “But, most importantly, 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 OK.”

Catherine’s announcement eerily echoed that of Charles’s. Buckingham Palace said that the king’s cancer was detected after a procedure for an enlarged prostate. While the palace has said he does not have prostate cancer, it has not specified what kind of cancer it is, nor what his prognosis is.

Until Catherine’s video on Friday, Kensington Palace, where William and Catherine have their offices, had released even fewer details about her condition, an information vacuum that led to a raft of rumors and conspiracy theories on social media.

In the video, which Kensington Palace said was recorded by the BBC in Windsor on Wednesday, Catherine is seen sitting on a bench outside, with daffodils and trees in blossom behind her.

Her hands clasped on her lap, she begins by thanking the public for their messages of support and understanding while she was recovering from surgery, before announcing her diagnosis.

“In January, I underwent major abdominal surgery in London and at the time, it was thought that my condition was noncancerous. The surgery was successful,” she said. “However, tests after the operation found cancer had been present. 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.”

Catherine’s statement emphasized the importance of her three children and their well-being as a key factor in the timing of the announcement. “As I have said to them,” she said, “I am well and getting stronger every day by focusing on the things that will help me heal; in my mind, body and spirits. Having William by my side is a great source of comfort and reassurance, too.”

The children’s school has now broken up for the Easter holidays. A Kensington Palace official said Catherine and William had wanted to share the information when they felt it was right for them as a family.

Catherine ended her video statement with a message for other people impacted by a cancer diagnosis. “At this time, I am also thinking of all those whose lives have been affected by cancer,” she said. “For everyone facing this disease, in whatever form, please do not lose faith or hope. You are not alone.”

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