SUPPORT OUR JOURNALISM: Please consider donating to keep our website running and free for all - thank you!


The strength and dignity of the Princess of Wales is an example to us all

Catherine, The Princess of Wales speaks about her early years project, Shaping Us, on visit to Leeds

There are few things harder to deal with than the diagnosis of a serious illness. One of those things is telling your children you have a serious illness. But for one young mother, another terrible task was added to that list. To do it all while people around the world thought it was OK to speculate, lie and bully you because you hadn’t revealed your health diagnosis to them on demand.

The statement from the Princess of Wales that she is now undergoing preventative chemotherapy after cancer was found during tests that followed her major abdominal surgery was filled with brave words. She spoke of being ok, of her brilliant medical team, of the love and support she had received. And she had words for those in the same situation as her, telling them that they are not alone.

But at the centre of it was the very real pain of ensuring that her children, aged just 10, 8 and 5, know that mum will get better.

While Catherine comes to terms with a very serious illness, like every parent, her first thoughts will be with making sure her children are alright. There is nothing worse for a mum or dad than the idea that they might not be around for their babies or thinking that their babies are worried they might not be there.

To have to deal with all that while people, including apparently responsible journalists, indulged in speculation and conspiracy theories is too much for any person to have to bear.

And yet, after all that, The Princess of Wales issued an elegant statement, fillwed with empathy for others at a time when many would really rather not speak at all.

Let’s think, too, of the Prince of Wales who has carried on with public engagements while being subjected to online slurs from some quarters and who has just carried on, prioritising his wife and children while also looking out for his father who is also being treated for cancer.

This remarkable fortitude is a testament to both of them. Their strength and dignity is an example to us all.

Get well soon, Ma’am. And please, do it in peace. We’ll see you when you’re well enough and we’ll be very glad of it, too.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.