British Royal Family

Six most important words in Kate Middleton cancer video

Author: Editors Desk, Daniela Elser Source: News Corp Australia Network:
March 22, 2024 at 20:52

The Princess of Wales has revealed the deeply shocking news she is in the early stages of chemotherapy but things are even more dire than that.

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Over the years I have used the words ‘unprecedented’, ‘stunning’, and ‘extraordinary’ time and time and time again, as history kept being made.

We have seen a prince of the realm defenestrated and defrocked nearly on live tele, as a duke and duchess resigned via Instagram no less and a stalwart and beloved monarch exited the royal stage.

I really wish I had kept those words in reserve for today.

READ: Kate the Princess of Wales has cancer.

In a two minute, 15 second video the 42-year-old, wearing a striped jumper and a far cry from usual glammed up, eyeliner-ed self, revealed the truly extraordinary news, saying that she was undergoing “a course of preventative chemotherapy and I am now in the early stages of that treatment.”

 
Kate Middleton has revealed she has cancer. Picture: Supplied
Kate Middleton has revealed she has cancer. Picture: Supplied


This news is something no one – no psychic, no doomsday-er, no fully-trained Sybil – could have predicted. Making this all even more astonishingly horrible, it turns out that Kate’s cancer was discovered exactly the same way as her father-in-law’s King Charles’ cancer. Both went into the London Clinic in January for what everyone, including Buckingham and Kensington Palaces, believed was straightforward surgery only for the doctors for King and princess to subsequently discover they both had cancer.
 

King Charles and Kate Middleton are both battling cancer. Picture: Chris Jackson / POOL / AFP
King Charles and Kate Middleton are both battling cancer. Picture: Chris Jackson / POOL / AFP


Today there will be shock, worldwide. That the Princess of Wales, a woman who has often seemed practically perfect in every way, a nearly fairytale 21st century rendering of what a future King’s wife should be, turns out to be all too human.

All to flesh and blood and susceptible to the cruel whims of fortune and fate and anomalous cells as the rest of us.

However, once the horrible whammy, the ‘huh?’, the wide-eyed astonishment of this all has started to settle in, once this new reality really sinks in, then something very very scary becomes clear. The royal family? The monarchy? The House of Windsor replete with multiple gift shops and social media accounts and KPIs? The whole edifice and business and institution?

Welcome to the Doomsday Scenario, a moment that feels more like the plot of Robert Ludlum potboiler than what could end up being a true pivot point in the history of Crown Inc.

Before today, the royal family was looking a bit shaky, a bit wan, a bit thin on the ground, understaffed and malnourished. And now? Post Kate-announcement? Things have veered dramatically towards ‘End of Days’ territory.

For the shortish term, in the months ahead, as Kate has preventative chemotherapy and Charles undergoes an unspecified form of treatment, we will be in a holding pattern. Queen Camilla will continue to sail forth in her trusty never-ending wardrobe of Bruce Oldfield outfits demonstrating her innate commitment to the Churchillian concept of KBO-ing (keep buggering on).
 

Kate Middleton’s cancer news adds a Doomsday Scenario to the royal family’s status. Picture: Odd ANDERSEN / AFP
Kate Middleton’s cancer news adds a Doomsday Scenario to the royal family’s status. Picture: Odd ANDERSEN / AFP


Prince William, meanwhile, will continue on as we have seen in recent weeks, out and about on limited public manoeuvres as he balances trying to keep the monarchy above the water line while also being there for Kate and their three young children.

Despite the all-hands message that has probably already gone out to the remaining, not exactly sprightly, remaining senior working members of Crown Inc – Princess Anne and Prince Edward and Sophie the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh – things are about to get dire. Or should that be, even more dire.

No matter the plucky spirits and bright, big smiles we are going to see from Anne et al, the version of the royal family who are going to be on show in 2024 and possibly even after that will be unlike any version we have ever seen before.

The royal family are not, this year and maybe next and maybe ever again, going to look like they did only five years ago. The version of the royal family or yore, with their ceaseless, comparatively perky string of thousands upon thousands of official outings every year is over.
 

The royal family from 2023 is not the same as the one that will show itself in 2024. Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
The royal family from 2023 is not the same as the one that will show itself in 2024. Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty Images


In 2019, the royal family boasted a sizeable and pretty buoyant bunch of ‘staffers’. Prince Andrew was busy trying to help start ups start and maybe skimming a bit of cream orrff the top for himself; Harry and Meghan the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were busy making the House of Windsor working their way through the Commonwealth one hug; on home soil the Waleses were busy giving us trad-royalling; Queen Elizabeth and her lime green hats was always out and about resplendent in pearls belying her age; and Charles and Camilla were gaining steam and acceptance and Instagram followers.

As a whole that year they managed to do 3,567 engagements, both in the UK and abroad. (For comparison’s sake, the average has been 3,678-a-year since 1979.)

Fast forward to 2023 and all of that unprecedented-ing and that combined humber had already fallen so precipitously that someone should think about sending out a search party, Last year they were down to 2,270 engagements. .

Of that number, 650 were undertaken by Charles and Kate. And in 2024? By the end of this year? Lord only knows.
 

Back in 2019 the royal family still has the Queen and Meghan and Harry as working members. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Back in 2019 the royal family still has the Queen and Meghan and Harry as working members. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire


The royal family as we used to know it – the myriad plaque-unveilings and tree plantings and roundabout openings and all that Chelsea Flower Show en masse-going – is over, for now.

And going forward? I’m not sure we can predict yet whether things will ever quite bounce back.

Absolute best case scenario, both Kate and Charles have all of their treatment and follow their doctors’ orders to the letters and their spouses lovingly plump their pillows and spoon feed them sago pudding, and they are back in the royal salt mines in the next 12 months.

Even then, it could be years until things return to some semblance of ‘normal’ – and only then it would be the post-Queen Elizabeth, much more limited ‘normal’.

Those 2019 days of Crown Inc being a thriving, going concern whose future looked bright and for which there were many soft, manicured hands all vigorously mucking in are gone.

Until Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis have gone to university and then done some form of military something and then had their own chance to get bladdered in Las Vegas and make some mistakes that only the Singularity knows about, only then might – and it’s a real ‘might’ – we start to see a royal family that looks like the one that existed in March 2019.

But, hope time.

It could be easy to miss the glimmer of positive news, such that it is, in Kate’s video statement but about halfway through, she says: “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.”

“I am going to be OK.”

They might be six very plain words but today they mean everything. That the Princess of Wales wants the world to know that she will be fine, that Philip Treacy should be readying his hatmaking wooden blocks and ordering in more felt, that Emilia Wickstead’s frock-making workhouse should not go offline, that we will see Kate back it in a relative trice.

Kate will be back. But what state the royal family might be in then? Sadly I might end up needing to dredge up ‘unprecedented’ yet again.

Daniela Elser is a writer, editor and a royal commentator with more than 15 years’ experience working with a number of Australia’s leading media titles.

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