The Princess of Wales is being treated for cancer, Kensington Palace confirmed in a statement on Friday evening (March 22).

In a video statement, Catherine confirmed she was in the early stages of treatment after cancer was found following tests carried out after she underwent abdominal surgery in January.

She said that the news was a “huge shock” after an “incredibly tough couple of months”. Details of the cancer have not been confirmed but Kensington Palace has said it is confident she will make a full recovery.

The news follows weeks of speculation about Catherine’s health that was sparked after she was admitted to hospital in January for planned abdominal surgery. Following the procedure, which Buckingham Palace said was successful, the senior royal remained in hospital for 13 days before being discharged to continue her recovery at home on January 29.

In a further statement, the palace said that the Princess of Wales was unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter. On Mothering Sunday the Prince and Princess of Wales issued a public photo of of Catherine posing with her children.

However, this photo was later “killed” by news agencies after it was discovered that it had been digitally altered. The Princess herself apologised on social media for the image saying that “like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing”.

Born Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, she married Prince William, The Prince of Wales, at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011. The couple has three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

The family's official residence is Kensington Palace and Catherine holds patronage with over 20 charitable and military organisations including the Anna Freud Centre, Action for Children, SportsAid, and the National Portrait Gallery.