Catherine making 'good progress' in cancer treatment as she announces partial public return

Princess Catherine waves from a royal carriage
Catherine, Princess of Wales, says she has been "blown away" by the messages of support and encouragement she has received since announcing her diagnosis. (David Cliff / Associated Press)

Catherine, Princess of Wales, has issued the first substantial update about her health since revealing in March that she has an undisclosed form of cancer, as well as announcing a partial return to royal duties amid her treatment.

The British princess said Friday in a statement that she has been “blown away” by the messages of support and encouragement she has received since announcing her diagnosis and while undergoing preventive chemotherapy.

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Catherine, 42, said she’s making “good progress” in her treatment but asserted that it is “ongoing” for a few more months and that she is “not out of the woods yet.”

Neither the palace nor the princess has said what stage of cancer she was diagnosed with, only that it was discovered after she had “major abdominal surgery” in January and that she was being treated with preventive chemotherapy, a secondary treatment that in the U.S. is known as adjuvant chemotherapy.

“I am making good progress, but as anyone going through chemotherapy will know, there are good days and bad days. On those bad days, you feel weak, tired and you have to give in to your body resting. But on the good days, when you feel stronger, you want to make the most of feeling well,” Catherine said in the personal message, released Friday by Kensington Palace. The princess also appeared in a new image credited to photographer Matt Porteous that accompanied her update.

“My treatment is ongoing and will be for a few more months. On the days I feel well enough, it is a joy to engage with school life, spend personal time on the things that give me energy and positivity, as well as starting to do a little work from home,” she said.

The former Kate Middleton, an upper-middle-class commoner who married into the British royal family in 2011, also said Friday that she is looking forward to attending the 76th birthday festivities for her father-in-law, King Charles III, over the weekend.

On Saturday, she will travel by horse-drawn carriage from Buckingham Palace to watch the Trooping the Color, an annual military parade in June that marks the monarch’s birthday (his actual birthday is in November), with her husband, Prince William, and their children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

The family will watch the parade from the Major General’s Office with the rest of the family and is expected to make a joint appearance from a Buckingham Palace balcony during the event.

Charles is said to be “delighted” that the princess plans to attend the parade, which he will oversee while also undergoing treatment for an undisclosed form of cancer.

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Last week, the princess said she regretted having to sit out the ceremony, which involves British troops appearing in front of the king in full dress uniform with their flag, or “color,” to be saluted by the monarch and his officers.

The princess is the colonel of the Irish Guards, but given the unpredictability surrounding her condition, Lt. Gen. James Bucknall will be present for the fanfare to take a salute from the troops on her behalf. Catherine had previously written to wish the guards good luck ahead of the Colonel’s Review last weekend.

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Additionally, the princess said she plans to take part in “a few public engagements over the summer,” after largely retreating from the public eye this year because of her health.

Catherine was last seen at an official public engagement in December, when the royal family gathered for Christmas.

While her message Friday was a major development during a tumultuous year for the royal family, Kensington Palace asserted that Catherine’s appearances on Saturday and over the summer do not mean she will return to a full schedule of public engagements, which she will start only when she feels able to and with the guidance of her medical team.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.