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Health woes: What to know about the royal family's cancer battles

By Melanie Uson Published Mar 23, 2024 6:03 pm

Concerns loom as three members of the royal family are currently facing issues surrounding their health.

After Queen Elizabeth II's death in September 2022, the palace started its new era under its new monarch, King Charles III. Less than a year into his reign, the 75-year-old king revealed he has been diagnosed with cancer.

Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales, shook the world with her cancer reveal on Saturday, March 23 following her abdominal surgery in January. Here's a quick rundown of what happened—as well as the current condition of the affected royal members.

King Charles III
King Charles III

King Charles III, the United Kingdom’s current monarch, made his cancer diagnosis public in February. 

The announcement came after Buckingham Palace revealed that the king was undergoing treatment for benign prostate enlargement. 

“During the king’s recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted. Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer,” the statement read. The form of cancer and its stage have not yet been disclosed as of writing. 

They added that the king has started taking his "regular treatments" and would postpone public duties for now.

According to PEOPLE Magazine’s report early this month, a source from the Palace, as well as his wife, Queen Camilla told the media that the monarch is “doing well.”

King Charles III took over the crown in May 2023—a few months after Queen Elizabeth II, who held the throne for 70 years, passed away in September 2022. She was 96. 

Sarah Ferguson
Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York

Sarah Ferguson, also known by her nickname, Fergie, struggled with cancer twice—the first one being an early-stage breast cancer that she was diagnosed with in January 2023.  

In her 2024 New Year’s Day post, Fergie revealed that she beat the disease after undergoing a mastectomy in July of the same year, which reportedly lasted for eight hours. 

Just a few weeks after celebrating her feat, the Duchess of York shared that she was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. According to the National Library of Medicine, it's a form of skin cancer that can be hereditary or can be due to sun exposure over a lifetime. People with pale skin are the ones who are most likely to get the disease, as stated on its website.

According to a report by CBS News, Fergie's spokesperson said her skin cancer was discovered by a dermatologist when she was undergoing reconstructive surgery following her mastectomy. One of the moles was found to be cancerous. 

Early this month, PEOPLE Magazine reported that Fergie was “very relieved” to know that her skin cancer "has not spread." She is now set to attend checkups every 12 weeks. 

Fergie is the former wife of Prince Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. They tied the knot in 1986 where they earned the titles of Duke and Duchess of York.  

The two legally separated in 1992 and finalized their divorce four years later. 

Kate Middleton
Catherine, Princess of Wales

On Saturday, March 23 (Philippine time), the Princess of Wales revealed her cancer diagnosis. 

“In January, I underwent major abdominal surgery in London and at the time, it was thought that my condition was non-cancerous,” she said in her video message. 

After taking some tests post-operation, that results showed that cancer had been present. Kate said that her medical team advised her to undergo preventive chemotherapy and that she is now in the early stages of treatment. 

According to Kate, it was a “huge shock” for her family. She said they are working on how to go through it privately for the sake of their children. 

“As you can see, it has taken me time to recover from major surgery in order to start my treatment. But most importantly, it has taken us time to explain everything to George, Charlotte, and Louis. In a way that's appropriate for them and to reassure them that I'm going to be okay," she said. 

Her announcement came after numerous speculations and conspiracy theories about her and her whereabouts since January, when she underwent abdominal surgery.

Early this month, Kate stirred controversy after admitting that her family portrait with her three children—10-year-old Prince George, 8-year-old Princess Charlotte, and 5-year-old Prince Louis—was edited. News agencies like AFP, The Associated Press, Getty, and Reuters removed the photo from their websites.