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Catherine, Princess Of Wales, Reveals Cancer Diagnosis; Russian Media: Armed Men Opened Fire Inside Concert Hall Near Moscow. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired March 22, 2024 - 14:30   ET



MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: But I have been told she's going -- she may turn up at events. We shouldn't interpret of that her going back to work. It's not going to be a full schedule. I think it's going to be last minute moments.

If it's a family event or there's a service, something that she thinks is important, she may turn up to it. But I think it's going to be a last-minute decision.

Her priority is obviously the treatment and the recovery. But now we're into the Easter holidays, it's about creating some regularity for the children. So I don't know if that means they're going away on holiday or that they are just going to stay at home and take daily outings and just work together as a family.

William will be carrying on with his public duties. So I think we can read into that that she is stable enough at home for him to carry on with his public duties.

I mean, the pressure on the monarchy right now is absolutely immense. The queen has really stepped up in recent times. She went on a visit to Northern Ireland just this week. Major constitutional events.

And she was representing the king there. The king, obviously, isn't carrying out public engagements. Kate has been going to be doing it for some time. William is going to do what he can.

But the top four royals are pretty much out of action. This is a real amount of pressure on them. So I think you're going to see Edward and Sophie stepping up a lot more. Also, a lot of pressure on Princess Anne right now.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Max, we'll continue to check in with you.

I want to bring Richard Quest.

Richard, I mean, again, this is just terrible news and very sad for the family. And obviously, of great interest to people around the world who are concerned about -- about her. Where do you see this going from here?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: I think there'll be two distinct tracks here, if you will. Within the United Kingdom, I think the -- the sort of the mainstream media, if you will, would all follow the rules.

There'll be no going after her. There'll be no sharing pictures. If pictures are taken elsewhere, they won't be shown. Her privacy will be respected.

But of course, it is a democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of the press. And so there will be pictures. In fact, the pictures we've seen of her so far have usually been paparazzi, or even members of the public who published them.

And that's going to be the bigger problem, I think. It's when the paparazzi decide to try and with -- with vigorous determination, decide to get pictures of, in any shape, form, and description, and how those are then used, who buys them, who shows them, who gives oxygen, if you will, to these rogue photographs that are taken.

And the second thing, of course, from the princess' point of view, as much taken with watch her last line of her statement, Anderson, she said, "I'm also thinking of all of those whose lives have been affected by cancer. For everyone facing this, do not lose faith or hope."

So very similar to the king when he gave out his diagnosis. And suddenly, the number of men going for prostate cancer tests went up enormously.

So she has got this jewel -- well, the primary responsibility and role, of course, is her family and her health, as she said. But she will be very aware of the need to also, for other people to be seen as, in a sense, as a role model for how one handles such awfulness in such a public arena.

COOPER: Yes, Richard stay with us.

I just want to play for our viewers who are just joining us, because there was at the top of the hour, at 2:00, that the announcement was made, a video was released by Kensington Palace.

I just want to play that video again, it's about two minutes, and then we'll talk about it afterward.


CATHERINE, PRINCESS OF WALES: I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you personally for all the wonderful messages of support and for your understanding whilst I've been recovering from surgery.

It has been an incredibly tough couple of months for our entire family but I've had a fantastic medical team who've taken great care of me for which I'm so grateful.

In January, I underwent major abdominal surgery in London. And at the time, it was thought that my condition was non-cancerous. The surgery was successful. However, tests after the operation showed cancer had been present.

My medical team therefore advised that I should undergo a course of preventive chemotherapy and I'm now in the early stages of that treatment.

This, of course, came as a huge shock. And William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family.

As you can imagine, this has taken time. 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 OK.

As I've said to them, I am well and getting stronger every day by focusing on the things that will help me heal in my mind, body and spirit.

Having William by my side is a great source of comfort and reassurance, too.

As is the love, support and kindness that has been shown by so many of you. It means so much to both of us.


We hope that you'll understand that, as a family, we now need some time, space and privacy while I complete my treatment.

My work has always bought me a deep sense of joy. And I look forward to being back when I'm able. But for now, I must focus on making a full recovery.

At this time, I'm also thinking of all those whose lives have been affected by cancer. For everyone facing this disease, in whatever form, please do not lose faith or hope. You are not alone.


COOPER: I'm back now with our Richard Quest.

And, you know, you think back to prior generations, this is not something we would have ever heard from a member of the royal family in the past.

QUEST: Oh, no. No, no, no, no, not at all. You've got the very barest of details and they just present just as a bid and you never heard from them again, in a sense.

But that doesn't cut it -- cut it today. You have to look at the -- the unspoken social contract, the spoken constitutional contract between monarchy and the people is that they serve the peoples' pleasure in a sense.

And therefore, there are duties and responsibilities, and which come into conflict when something extremely personal like this takes place.

And it's that balancing act, Anderson, that is going to define how this moves forward in a public sense. Obviously, the medical sense and her family is the priority in that way.

I was -- one thing I was very interested in. You were talking to Dr. Jonathan Reiner about the way this had moved forward. Now, when she initially went in for surgery, as the good doctor said, they had a pretty good idea that something was amiss.

And if you think about the number of weeks that we have been kept at arms-length in a sense, from that sort of information. And it's arguable we'd have never have found out anymore if it hadn't been cancerous.

And the public, what right does the public have to know in what circumstances about her condition, her treatment. The truth is very little until it affects our own sort of way of life and our own constitution.

At the moment, that's not in question.

COOPER: Yes. Well, again, our thoughts are with -- with her and her children and her family.

We're going to take a short break. And our coverage continues in a moment.



COOPER: And welcome back to our continuing breaking news coverage. If you're just joining us, we learned at the top of this hour, around 02:00 p.m. on the east coast, that Kate Middleton, the princess of Wales, announcing in a two-minute or so video that she has been diagnosed with cancer.

She had gone in, as you know, in January for major -- what she called me sure abdominal surgery. She said then that they did not believe it was cancerous prior to the surgery. Then they found that cancer had been present.

She said, in February, she began -- late February we believe, she began chemotherapy. The -- Kate Middleton, the princess of Wales, nor anyone at the palace have not -- they have not said exactly what kind of cancer this is, nor will they be saying that, according to our Max Foster.

They do not plan to be giving any more details. And they asked for privacy as she undergoes -- continues to undergo this chemotherapy.

I want to check in with our Max Foster.

Max, I know you've been sort of monitoring not only any information coming out from the palace, from the royal family, but also just reaction in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. What are you hearing?

FOSTER: Well, I think there's a real shock. As we've been reporting, quite extensively, there's been so little information about why we haven't seen the princess.

And this was -- you know, despite all that speculation out of it -- out there, and a lot of it really distasteful, obviously -- none of them were talking about this sort of scenario.

So genuine shock. I mean, just people around the palace absolutely horrified by what they've heard. And their hearts going out to the family, in particular, to Kate.

So the so the five members of the family are in Windsor. That was filmed in Windsor. They - William's been looking after the kids.

They weren't -- a lot of the privacy was related to the school term, and they didn't want their kids seeing the news or other kids seeing the news and discussing it with the kids at school.

So I think now is a real family moment because they know it's exploding on global news media. So the five of them are hunkering down. They were expecting this to happen.

There -- they're big mental health campaigners. They would have very carefully thought about how to present this to the kids in the first place. And then for them to deal with the onslaught of media coverage.

I imagined they have not got the TV on. They're just trying to have a normal family time tonight.

So thoughts for them really at this time, also thoughts for the rest of the royal family. And a lot of people out there who've just been really genuinely worried about her.

And looking ahead to the future of the monarchy, it's taken a huge dent. They know that she's very dutiful. She's even said she's going to try and get out as much as she can.

But this is a senior member of royalty who isn't going to be there for the public right now. And with the king looking pretty vulnerable as well, also with cancer treatment, I think it's a pretty unsettling time for people here in the U.K. where the monarchy is meant to represent stability and continuity.


COOPER: And, Max, also, I mean, unsettling for -- for Catherine and also obviously the royal family, the privacy breach, the attempted -- according to authorities, there was an attempt to find out medical records among hospital staff.

What is the status of that? And did that -- I mean, are you hearing anything about whether that sort of played a role in the timing of this announcement? FOSTER: It didn't play any role in the timing. They stuck to their

plan. I mean, if you look at what they've done, they've stuck to their plan throughout this.

They've only done what they said they were going to do in terms of media coverage and statements and all of a social media post that they've been putting out there.

So the current status of the hospital is that, according to our affiliate sources, ITV, three members of staff tried to get into her digital records at the hospital, tried to see her medical records.

And there's an investigation in the hospital. And the data commissioner is also looking at that. The police aren't yet involved. But that does suggest that that information wasn't ultimately leaked, but they did try to access it.

It does speak to all of the conspiracy and all the coverage here, because why would people be trying to get hold of that information?

I think the general consensus is that it would have been leaked to the media and they would have tried to sell that story. It would have been worth a huge amount of money.

So it all speaks to the same thing. The fact that so many, I don't know what to call them, the people out there who are promoting these conspiracy theories, trying to get information, trying to make money, frankly, from clicks and views on social media.

This is the pressure that they are now facing. And I can't think of another story where the speculation is bloated so much. And of course, there has been criticism of the palace for not giving enough information and allowing those conspiracy theories to bubble up.

But they've now explained why that was. And it was simply to try to get their heads around it and to protect the kids.

COOPER: Max, we'll check-in with you shortly.

CNN royal historian, Kate Williams, joins us.

Kate, you and I have talked about this royal family in happy times and sad. This is certainly a sad occasion. It's also, as we talked about earlier this hour, really an unprecedented level of candor for any member of the royal family.

KATE WILLIAMS, CNN ROYAL HISTORIAN: Yes, Anderson, as you say, this is a huge shock, that Kate was saying it was a huge shock. I think it's a huge shock for people watching. It's a huge shock for Britain, across the world.

Kate Middleton has been the princess of Wales, has been on the front page of so many newspapers, all these social media trending, just as Max was talking about.

And Kate has come out and given this really intimate, really beautiful video in the gardens of Windsor Castle, those daffodils behind her, and really being so unaccustomedly open, as you say.

She was talking about cancer. She said exactly when the cancer was discovered -- was discovered, and she talked about starting chemotherapy. So she's really had this openness, what we haven't seen from the royal family before.

The queen's father, George VI, we knew nothing. Even the queen herself, as princess, didn't know he was ill, so she went off to Kenya. We simply aren't told this.

And I think we are moving into a new royal world. It's totally unprecedented. The king was open. Kate was open. And I think it really makes us think about the royal family.

We can't always imagine they're super humans going on forever, never even getting a cold or even a major illness like this. They are human, too. And this is all bought at home to us, I think.

COOPER: In terms of what the next steps are, how does -- I mean, what does history tell us about how royal families deal with something like this?

WILLIAMS: Well, in the past, Anderson, royal families have really told us nothing. And it was -- in the Tudor times, it was treason to suggest that the monarch might be ill. So we are in new uncharted modern waters.

And I think it's really great that Kate has come out there and spoke. She's obviously going through so much. It's really tough.

But I think also people are really feeling a lot of sympathy for her because she has been trending. People have been -- all these armchair detectives about where is she, where isn't she?

And I think people are now thinking twice about a lot of all that, where is Kate social media stuff, hashtags. Because the truth was that she wasn't on a beach and she wasn't here or there.

Where she was, was she was at home going through this really tough time my name is really tough times as a woman and this really tough time really tough time as a mother to think about the children.

And we just think about Prince William here, like Prince Harry. I mean, they had such a tough childhood. They lost Princess Diana at a young age.

It must be so painful for William to have both his father and his wife suffering from this really tough disease. Of course, many of us recover from cancer and go on to live fantastic, fabulous lives. But it also is quite terrifying to hear it.


And I think -- I think a lot of people across the world have been listening to this now and really thinking about -- I think -- I think a lot of support for Kate, and I think her requests for privacy are going to be respected.

But I do think that we will have more openness going forward. Perhaps when Kate has finished her chemotherapy, perhaps as an engagement with a charity connected with the cancer that she's had, she may come out and give us more details about the cancer that she's had.

But at the moment, we've been asked not to speculate, not to ask about it. But I think that eventually we will be told.

And I think because, like the king, she'll hope that by telling people, more people will get checked and, because early, early caching of cancer is so important.

COOPER: I appreciate your time.

I want to check with Dr. Otis Brawley, a professor of oncology and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Brawley, you've, I assume, heard what Catherine has said. I'm wondering what stands out to you from a medical standpoint.

She said she had this major abdominal surgery in January. It was in late February, started chemotherapy, that the cancer -- that initially when she wanted for the surgery, they did not believe that there was cancer. She says she found out later that there was.

DR. OTIS BRAWLEY, PROFESSOR OF ONCOLOGY AND EPIDEMIOLOGY, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: Yes. This is -- we, of course, all hope the best for this poor woman who has to go through this in a very public way.

This does happen. You can have, for example, an ovarian cyst or a problem with the ovary that leads to abdominal surgery.

And then the pathologist a day or two or three after the surgery, while examining the specimen, finds out that there actually was a cancer there. That happens. We also sometimes see it with colon cancer.

We then very frequently will give people what we call adjuvant chemotherapy. That's a person where there's no evidence that they have disease left in their body, but there's still the possibility, we give them adjuvant chemotherapy to try to clean up what might be there that's so small we can't see it.

And the prognosis can still be very good. I think that's something all of us have to keep in mind and have to hope. We have people who have colon cancer or ovarian cancer, other cancers who -- who do very well.

COOPER: I appreciate your time.

We have some breaking news that I want to get to. Breaking news out of Russia. State media there reports a group of at least three armed man opened fire inside a concert hall in the Moscow region. We're just learning about this.

It happened inside Crocus City Hall where a music group was about to perform. Video from nearby shows a large plume of smoke and flames billowing from the building as the building appears to be engulfed in fire. You see the images there.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen joins us now.

Fred, what more are you learning about this shooting?

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, well, this is something that happened in the very late hours of today. And you're absolutely right, it happened in a place called Krasnogorsk, which is really a suburb of Moscow. I've been there many times myself.

And it happened in the Crocus City Hall, which is a really large shopping and entertainment complex.

Now, apparently three of these gunmen entered into that building, into the Crocus City Hall and started opening fire.

And the latest that we have from the emergency first responders on the ground and from Russian state media as well, is they say that there are casualties. They're still trying to clarify what exactly is going on.

What we don't have yet from the Russians is whether or not they know who the possible gunmen are, that they know, or whether they're not they know whether or not these gunmen have been neutralized by now or have been stopped yet. That's something that the authorities have not said yet.

But by all accounts, Anderson, from what we're seeing on some of the videos that were showing right now and also getting from the authorities, this does appear to be a fairly large attack.

You're absolutely right to point out that there is video coming out of that building on fire, which, again, is a huge complex.

We were also getting word from the local authorities telling us that there are at least 50 ambulances on the scene to tend to people who might be wounded. So clearly this is already, as far as the Russians are concerned, a mass casualty event.

They also say that they've set up a headquarters there and that they're pulling together all possible emergency response units. And of course, also security units as well to deal with that situation.

Again, right now, it's unclear whether or not these gunmen might still be at large. It's unclear whether it is only those three that we're hearing about in these initial reports or whether it's more than that.

But certainly, some of the videos that we've been seeing from the scene indicate that this was definitely a very difficult event for the people who were in there. That must have been extremely traumatizing as well.


You hear gunshots that are ringing out on some of these videos that are coming out. And a lot of people who are trying to take cover.

Right now, not clear whether or not this is over yet, whether or not the authorities are trying to create some sort of ring around that area.

But definitely the Russian authorities are saying that they're taking this extremely serious. And certainly, this does seem to be a large event that's taking place right on the outskirts of Moscow -- Anderson?

COOPER: All right. Fred, we're going to continue to check back with you over the course of this next hour.

We're going to be right back after a quick break. Much more head on our breaking news, Catherine, princess of Wales, revealing that she has been diagnosed with cancer. More details when we come back.