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CNN Live Event/Special

CNN INTERNATIONAL: Catherine, Princess Of Wales, Reveals Cancer Diagnosis; Russia: At Least 40 Dead In Concert Hall Attack Near Moscow; Moscow Concert Hall Attack. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired March 22, 2024 - 16:00:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

ISA SOARES, CNN HOST: A very good evening, everyone. It is eight o'clock here in London and we begin with breaking news that we've been following, in fact for the last several hours.

A short while ago, Kensington Palace announcing that Catherine, the Princess of Wales, has been diagnosed with cancer. She released a video message confirming her condition.

Have a listen to this.


PRINCESS 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 have taken great care of me for which I am 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 found cancer had been present. My medical team therefore advised that I should undergo a course of preventive chemotherapy and I am 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 a 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 is appropriate for them, and to reassure them that I am going to be okay. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SOARES: Well, Buckingham Palace says King Charles, who of course, as you all know, was diagnosed with cancer this year is so proud, his words, of Catherine for speaking out.

A spokesperson says, he is in close contact with the princess as you would expect, of course.

Richard Quest has been following the story and joins me now and Richard, this is incredibly brave and courageous of the Princess of Wales to come out with this statement of course, something that's so personal, a personal diagnosis. What do you make of what we had? A shock, of course, to so many people.



QUEST: Between the role of a mother, a wife, and her family, which is the absolute priority as it should be.


QUEST: But also as the Princess of Wales, and the next Queen of the country.

And look, it maybe unpleasant or unfortunate to say so, but with that second role comes responsibilities and one of them is to keep the public informed.

So what we got today was -- it was interesting and I think very telling that she did this on her own.

SOARES: Why? Explain that. Because when I looked at that, I thought, wow, she looks quite lonely in that bench, sitting in that bench. Why is that important that she did it by herself?

QUEST: She looked vulnerable, but should look strong at the same time. She was the master, if you will, of her own destiny making the announcement in her way, on her own, not turning around and saying, oh, here is my husband.

She says here, of course.


QUEST: She praised William for being at her side and said great source of comfort and reassurance, but she didn't need him next to her.

You know, my husband is here. He will speak for me. No, no. I am going to do this. It is important that I do it, and I think the most insignificant part is besides the family bit, and --

SOARES: Yes. QUEST: She says it is very human -- it is very human to reassure George, Charlotte, and Louis that I'm going to be okay.

SOARES: Yes, and that must be --

QUEST: She is getting well and getting stronger every day, but the core bit is when she says, for everyone facing this disease, because when you are a member of the Royal family, the second part of this equation comes into place. The role model, the voice of the country.

SOARES: In that case, let's break it down. Let's take first Kate, the mother.


SOARES: George, Charlotte, and Louis. I think Louis is about five years of age. It may seem quite traumatic, right?

QUEST: Five, I think so. Yes.

SOARES: To tell them, waiting, of course, for them to finish school because it is the last day of school was today to tell that message, to tell them that message.

QUEST: Yes. Yes. Because the jamboree and circus that's taking place.

Now, even you and I talking about it, let us -- let he without -- what's the old saying? Let him without clean hands go first. No one comes to this table with clean hands.

And so they are now on holiday on their Easter vacation. They can be a family. They can process this together.

What I am worried about is the non-mainstream paparazzi who will want any picture they can to sell in another jurisdiction in another country.

That picture won't see the light of day in the UK and Australia or Canada.


SOARES: Yes. A majority of us here, I think from what we've seen in previous years is that we will respect the media here.

British media may respect --

QUEST: They will.

SOARES: A majority of them will respect what she is asking for. What does it mean though then for the Royal family itself, because of course we've got the King, of course, also with cancer. Will we see -- could we see more of the Queen in terms of stepping up?

QUEST: Yes, she is in her 70s herself, and she had to take a bit of a break a couple of weeks ago because she had been doing so much. Yes is the short answer. Queen Camilla will step up. I would expect Edward and Sophie, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, they will be doing more.

The Princess Royal, I am not sure she could actually do much more, Princess Anne. Is it possible that we might see some of the other Royals coming in, Eugenie and Beatrix?


QUEST: I think it is unlikely because of their association with their father, the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, but it is possible.

You are certainly going to -- and as for the rest of them, the Gloucesters, the Kents, you know, they are getting on. I mean, they're all getting -- they are ancient in a sense.

SOARES: But let me ask you this because do you think --

QUEST: Well, you haven't asked --

SOARES: Yes, tell me.

QUEST: What haven't you asked about?

SOARES: I haven't asked about her brother-in-law.

QUEST: Exactly.

SOARES: Do you think he is coming to the fold?

QUEST: I don't know.

SOARES: More active.

QUEST: No idea. That's the --

SOARES: After this whole brouhaha --

QUEST: That's the wildcard. They are due to come to Britain for the Invictus Games. Will they come early? Will they come to visit? Will they -- I don't know.

SOARES: Before we go and I am being told by your producer that I have to wrap up, very quickly.

QUEST: Just ignore them.

SOARES: Exactly what I am doing. Are you surprised that -- do you think that Catherine's hand was forced in many ways, "forced" I use that likely to make that announcement given the breach that we've seen at the hospital, given of course all the theories, conspiracy theories on social media, or do you think it was just a question of time finding that right moment?

QUEST: I think the latter. SOARES: Okay.

QUEST: Remember, the Royals are rarely bounced into doing anything.


QUEST: I don't think -- we don't know about the leak or sufficient detail to know whether you know, were these details about to come out in the public domain? We don't know.

That will be illegal by the way, in this country.

SOARES: Indeed, yes.

QUEST: But no, I think it was a question of timing and the timing was right today and that is why they chose to do it.

Look, I've got some bad news for you on a bad news day. The conspiracy theories aren't going away.

SOARES: They are not going to stop, are they?


SOARES: They are not going to stop.

QUEST: No, no.

SOARES: And for her, it is going to be incredibly hard as a mother, of course, because she is so hands-on with her children.

Richard, appreciate it. Thank you very much.

QUEST: Thank you very much.

SOARES: Thank you.

Well, the head of England's National Health Service says the Princess was very brave to speak out. Amanda Pritchard says Catherine's announcement may encourage others really get worrying symptoms checked.

She also said she was sorry to hear the shocking news. It is shocking news, of course. Many people were taken by surprise with that.

Karen Knudsen is the CEO of the American Cancer Society.

Doctor, thank you very much for joining us. I believe you might be in a hospital, a very busy terminal perhaps where you.

Give me your sense of what you hear, what you heard today, because we don't know what type of cancer, we don't know what stage really of this cancer.

KAREN KNUDSEN, CEO, AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY: That's correct. And yes, so you've caught me at an airport, but thank you for asking me to comment.

So we don't know enough yet to understand what that path forward for the Princess will look like.

What we do know is that the concept of having chemotherapy after surgery is good to prevent any residual cancer that may have remained after surgical resection from becoming clinically relevant.

So this is something that we will continue to watch and monitor and learn as we learn more about the diagnosis, what the next steps look like.

SOARES: And what we had from the Princess of Wales, of course, in that when she spoke in the last few hours or so, is that she went into surgery in mid-January.

She said it was thought that her condition was non-cancerous, only after tests did they find the cancer. Would that explain the length of time she stayed in hospital? I think it was something like 13 days or so.

KNUDSEN: So it would, and you know, it is our understanding that she has already begun the chemotherapy intervention, perhaps even completed some of the first courses.

So this would explain, and there are a number of different cancer types, understanding that there are 200 different types of cancer, which may fit this mode. The first, having a surgical particular resection with a follow-on chemotherapy to eliminate any additional disease.

SOARES: Yes. On that, let me just push a bit more on that. What sort of cancer then? I know it is all hypothetical. We do not know.

But what sort of cancer then do you think we could be looking at here?

KNUDSEN: There are a number that could fit this category. You know, one that comes to mind is perhaps early stage ovarian cancer, for which there is no formal screening mechanism and ovarian cancer symptoms mimic many other types of non-cancerous -- or what could have been part of what drove her to seek treatment.


But this is one for which if there was an early diagnosis of early- stage disease that chemotherapy follow-on would make sense.


KNUDSEN: Another would be colorectal cancer. We know that we are seeing a rise in diagnosis of colorectal cancer at an earlier age, with an earlier onset disease and we don't fully understand why, but this is certainly also something that would follow this sort of a paradigm.

SOARES: ... from the colon cancer here, of course we heard from the Princess of Wales that she said she after explaining to George, Charlotte and Louis, she said, to try to reassure them that I am going to be okay.

Just talk in specific to colon cancer what have you seen over the years in terms of the chemotherapy, the chances here.

KNUDSEN: Yes. So it all depends on stage and the extent to which she needs additional treatment.

For early detection of almost any cancer type, this is almost invariably associated with increased survival. So from what we've heard so far that sounds like likely to be an early stage disease, we will see.

But it is important to know that there are other types of abdominal cancers or in the abdominal space, cancers that are identified for which it is difficult to attribute where the cancer cells actually came from. It is what we call a cancer of unknown primary.

So we really don't know what we are dealing with yet here, but what I would say is I thought she looked quite good. She did look strong and brave and I thought that the words that she gave about speaking to her children, that she was alluding to, it seemed a favorable prognosis and we very much hope that that is the case.

One thing we know for sure, early detection is key and associated with better survival.

SOARES: Indeed, and Doctor, she also did say the Princess of Wales, that she started, of course of preventive chemotherapy. How do you interpret those words?

KNUDSEN: So, we interpret that to mean that after surgery, there was some risk whether because something was seen or because something was a potential of a risk of some cancer cells not being removed.

So in that case, that preventative or what we would call adjuvant chemotherapy is intended to eliminate any remaining cancer that may still be remaining after surgery.

SOARES: Doctor, really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us from a busy terminal. Thank you very much, Doctor.

KNUDSEN: Absolutely. Thank you for having me.

SOARES: A pleasure. We are going to continue in this breaking news.

I want to bring in presenter, Trisha Goddard.

Trish, I believe you're with us and just your reaction, good to see you, Trisha. Your reaction, of course, a shock to so many of us hearing the news following what has been just weeks really of conspiracy theories.

TRISHA GODDARD, HOST, "THIS WEEK WITH TRISHA GODDARD": Yes, it certainly is. I've got to say I was more surprised than shocked. And as you say, the King as well has been diagnosed with cancer, as well as don't forget the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson as well.


GODDARD: Breast cancer and then melanoma. So it has been very much a subject that is talked about.

Just let me say that we saw Catherine on the bench on her own and what have you -- I am not going to use the words brave because those of us who live with cancer don't like that term.

It is very -- I think our language around this and one of the reasons I understand why this news has been released now is because the children would be -- there is going to be a whole load of headlines.

And as a journalist, I really hope my colleagues stop to think before they print words like they've been calling King Charles cancer- stricken Charles, you would have thought that is -- instead of King, that was full name, so to speak.

Now, there are four million people in the UK, four million living with cancer, far more in the USA, and when stories like this come out, yes, they make people seek treatment. Yes, they give strength to people with cancer who think I am not alone, and not whether you're rich or you're poor, it can hit anybody.

But also, the language around it has a great effect on mood and I am currently involved with a charity that the Princess also is, Home Start, which is a parenting charity and one of the things we look at is obviously people's mental health, that is all determined from childhood.


So the language we use for a disease and illness, a chronic illness that is very, very prevalent is really important. It shouldn't be something that we gloss over slightly.

SOARES: Yes, and look, you know the press here very well, Trisha, I don't have to tell you that, but we heard from the Princess today. "We hope that you will understand that as a family, we now need some time, space, and privacy while I complete my treatment."

Do you think the press here will respect that or international, not just here, internationally as well?

GODDARD: Well, I'd love to think so, but it is not going to happen. There is money to be made. And unfortunately, as we heard before, she knew -- the Princess would have known as would have King Charles, she has known about this right from the beginning. They were in hospital together.

SOARES: Yes. GODDARD: That somebody tried to access their records, which probably made them doubly worried that it would come out the wrong way and anyone with any chronic illness, wants to be the person to say it, not supposition what have you.

But here is the thing, there is money to be made. I can't say definitively, but one may guess that perhaps the person who took the video at the farm shop, you know, people could get a photo here. Newspapers will offer money for that. So in an ideal world, I would that, that could be the case.

The good old Capricorn cynic in me tells me it won't.

SOARES: And you know what, I am a bit of a cynic. I agree with you, unfortunately, I think we know what the press is like here in this country.

But I think the majority may respect her, but as all the others, right, it is all the others. But look, let's talk about the pressure then, Trisha on the monarchy because I imagine, it is immense.

We've seen the Queen stepping up, I am guessing, and Richard was talking to me about this, perhaps even seeing more of Sophia and Edward having to step up because of course, the King is also dealing, is also out and dealing with cancer.

GODDARD: Yes, there is going to be an extra pressure. I mean, he slimmed down the monarchy really in hindsight, the worst possible time. Who knew that this was all to come.

Wouldn't it be great though if they came to some kind of rapprochement with Harry? I mean, we've already -- Britain is heading to the Invictus Games anyway. He is going to be over and what have you. This -- I mean, if I was advising the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, I will be saying this is your moment to shine, to offer to come back into the fold, to dial it down a little bit and be part -- a team player and what have you.

I mean, but you know, that's --

SOARES: Do you think they will happen, Trisha? Realistically?

GODDARD: Wow. I live in a Disney world, but I am just saying it would be a good opportunity.


GODDARD: They would still get lots of flak from people who say, oh, they are only coming back because this, that, and the other, but here is the thing, with chronic illnesses, with cancer anyway and it being --

Remember, this is the Sussexes children's auntie. You know, it is family. Their cousins' mom.

So even if they don't actually come into the UK, one would hope that they have -- and I am sure, you know FaceTime and things like that where they talk more, it is the opportunity for them to begin to build bridges whether that happens or not, you know, who knows?

But you're right, the Royal family is really under pressure and remember, Prince Harry, there is still a lot more to happen on that front as well. They don't need scandal -- anymore scandal at the moment.

SOARES: Yes, indeed. And of course, I think from what I heard from the Prince of Wales's message, William will continue with his work. She will obviously continue to try to keep working as well, but of course, her focus is on her health and wellness children.

GODDARD: But, sorry --

SOARES: Go ahead. Go ahead, Trisha.

GODDARD: I was just going to jump in there.

Yes, jumping in there, Like, King Charles, if she is having chemotherapy, her white cell count may well be hit. I mean, that's normal for chemotherapy. That means that she is at greater risk of infection.

So, again, face-to-face meetings and what have you may become an issue as they have with King Charles. If she -- it depends what chemotherapy she is having, whether she is having pill type or infusion type, but she must be having a cold cap if it is significant chemotherapy because otherwise there would be loss of hair. There always wigs and sorry, I've got everybody ringing me from my phone --

[16:20:08 ]

SOARES: You're very busy today. You're very busy today.

GODDARD: But I am just saying, you know, how much she can do will be determined really by her white cell count and meeting with children as she loves to do, children as we know, bless their little hearts are the biggest carrier of germs out there.

SOARES: Oh, I know them. Yes, I've got two. I know.

GODDARD: Well, there you go, so all of these things will have to be taken into account. She may well do what video bits and pieces. I mean, Prince Harry did that, didn't he, from California, so that may be an option.

But you know, you might find the face-to-face stuff being not happening at the moment.

SOARES: Well, we wish of course all the best. We hope she recovers well. I am sure she will get lots of heartfelt messages from everyone around the world.

Trisha, always great to see you and talk to you. Thank you, Trisha.

GODDARD: All right. Take care, bye-bye.

SOARES: We, of course, stay across this breaking news story that we've gotten in the last three hours of course.

We are also monitoring another breaking news story out of Russia. Fire has broken out after multiple men opened fire at a concert hall, just on the outskirts of Moscow.

We will have the latest on Moscow's mayor is calling a terrible tragedy, that is next.

You are watching CNN.


SOARES: If you're just joining us, let me bring you up-to-date with the breaking news that we have been following here on CNN for the last what -- two hours and 23 minutes roughly, and news coming out of Buckingham Palace really, that Catherine, the Princess of Wales, has been diagnosed with cancer.

She did release a video message confirming her condition, the very moving media message in fact, and she said that she is -- that she has been diagnosed with cancer. She is in the early stages of treatment and she said it was a huge shock really to her and her family.

She didn't give us a rough idea of the timeline. Of course, when she went to hospital in January seeking abdominal surgery in London, and it was thought at the time that the condition was non-cancerous.

That surgery, she said was successful. However, tests afterwards found they had -- that cancer had been present.


She has taken the time to really tell her children of this traumatic news, of course.

She said: "It has taken us time to explain everything to George, Charlotte, and Louis in a way that is appropriate to them and to reassure them," she said, "... that I am going to be okay."

And just in the last what -- half an hour or so where we heard from King Charles who said he is so proud of his daughter-in-law and said that: "... for her courage in speaking as she did in sharing her cancer diagnosis."

Let's get more on all of this, Royal historian, Kate Williams is with me and really moving words from the King, but also more importantly from the Princess of Wales.

KATE WILLIAMS, CNN ROYAL HISTORIAN: Well, yes, as you say, it was so moving. I mean, she was there on the bench in the Gardens of Windsor Castle speaking to us all, not as a Royal, but as a person and really, it was so vulnerable and it was so emotional. And I think, you know, I've been hearing a lot of people saying on social media and people you've been interviewing as well on CNN saying how moving they found that they were on the brink of tears while they were listening to it, and particularly her final line in which she said, you know, she was thinking of everyone else who was touched by cancer, which is very similar to what the King said, the King said in his statement when he revealed that he had cancer earlier this year, that he too was thinking of everyone who was suffering from cancer.

And we really are in unprecedented waters here. Two senior Royals are suffering from cancer and it really does show this is a tough disease that will touch all of our lives.

SOARES: Indeed, and talking of this unprecedented nature, of course, we are having two Royals with cancer. How will this, Kate, I mean, you know this well, how would this affect you think or the added pressure on the Royal family?

WILLIAMS: Well, this does have a significant effect. In the past, Royals have almost been superhuman. We were never told when they were ill.

George VI, the Queen's father, we were never told that he had cancer when he did, he was having operations. Now, the Royals are being open with us, and the reason why they're being so open with us, they want to be open, but also because their duties have to change.

We are showing all this wonderful footage here of Kate out and about, shaking hands, meeting people, that simply can't be the case for the moment. She is having chemotherapy, she will have to be sheltering at home, we believe for quite a long time.

I don't necessarily expect to see her as we had expected to see her. We were told in January, we will expect to see her after Easter, that may not be the case now.

We don't have any timeline either for the King. We are were told that the King may be able to come to Trooping the Colour in June, but he will be in a carriage.

So it is all very different now, and I think that it is great to hear this openness in the Royal family. And I think also, it is really -- I think it must have been really tough for Kate. She has obviously had a very tough surgery, then on top of this surgery that was tough in itself, you have chemotherapy which is so brutal on the body.

And also on top of this, she has hoped for privacy, but there has been all this social media speculation and she has come out and spoken.

SOARES: Yes and look, indeed, and I imagine as well, Kate, that we won't get -- be getting updates. I am sure, many people on social media will want to be getting more updates from the Princess of Wales, her diagnosis, but we not going to get that, right, on a daily basis.

WILLIAMS: No, I don't expect we are going to hear anything. I think that the Palace has asked us, you know, don't chase Kate's car, don't try and get photos of her because obviously she is having outpatient treatments. She would be going in and out of a hospital somewhere.

They said don't -- she has asked for privacy to come to terms with what she is experiencing and for the children to come to terms with it. And they obviously, as they've said, they waited to give this announcement until the children were no longer in school, so they could deal with it as a family. They are going through a really tough time.

So, I don't expect we are not going to get another video message. We might get the odd Kate is doing well, and I don't think that perhaps maybe at the end of the year she might do an engagement and perhaps tell us a little bit about the cancer she experienced, but maybe not.

She is not the head of state. We don't have a constitutional need to know and obviously, she is a young woman, a young mother, and she has been hit by, as she said, a huge shock.

SOARES: And like you said, Kate, I mean, spot on, not only is she Royal, but she is also a mother and I think her statement that we heard today, spoke -- was really moving when she was speaking of course, about her children and managing telling her children there.

She has George who is ten, Charlotte, eight; and Louis is five. I can imagine just the trauma of having to tell your children, waiting for them to break up from school for Easter Holiday, which is today, they finish today and having to tell them that.

That shows a vulnerability, too, right, that for her, the most important thing right now is being a mother.

WILLIAMS: Yes, I mean, Kate has always put the children first. She wanted the children to have a normal, quiet little -- quiet childhood and it has been really hard for her. And of course, they have to tell the children earlier this year that Grandad, that the King had cancer and now they're having to say, mummy has got cancer, too.

And as she said, I've told them I'll be okay. I've told them that I'll be fine, but children -- we know children panic, children worry. They fear the worst and it is really tough for them.

And I think that this above all is what we are seeing, is William and Kate are putting the children first. They are focusing on the children, giving them a normal -- trying to get them a sort of normal Easter with Easter eggs in an Easter Egg Hunt, and really telling them that even though Kate, I am sure is tired, she is going through a lot, chemotherapy is really tough on the body that she is still there for them as their mother.


And isn't it interesting, Isa that, you know, about six or seven years ago, Kate actually cut off quite a lot of her hair. She cut off seven inches of her hair, which is a lot but she has a lot of hair. She cut it off and gave it to this really wonderful charity that creates wigs for little children who have cancer. And that I think is so touching that she gave her hair, she donated her hair. And now she's going through cancer herself.

And I think that, you know, so many children out there whose parents are going through cancer who are experiencing this as small children, they, you know, the parents I think will take a lot of strength and -- from this from Kate's honesty and vulnerability and, you know, really putting the children's first, it's just so tough.

SOARES: Indeed. And she said on that note for everyone facing this disease in whatever form, please do not lose faith of hope. You are not alone. We wish of course all the very best. Kate, appreciate it. Thank you very much.

WILLIAMS: Good to see you.

SOARES: We are going to continue following this breaking news story here on CNN. We are also following a breaking news story of an attack in Russia. At least 40 people have reportedly been killed inside a concert hall near Moscow. I think it's on the outskirts of Moscow. The building is on fire and state media says its roof has partially collapsed. Really horrific scenes that you can see there. Visuals that you see there.

The image shows four attackers inside the venue. Some of them appear to be carrying rifles as you can see there. There was panic inside the hole. Shots rang out and state media says more than 100 people have been hurt and that it's being investigated as a terrorist attack. Just a short time ago, a Ukrainian presidential adviser said on social media that Ukraine has nothing to do with the attack.

Let's get the very latest. Matthew Chance is following the story from London. So Matthew, bring us up to date. What -- is this still ongoing? What more you learning?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Isa. I think it is still ongoing. Yes. I mean, it's a very confused situation, obviously. And we're not obviously there in person. But yes, there is still live pictures coming from the scene showing thick plumes of black smoke rising above this shopping center and concert venue which is on the outskirts of Moscow. It's not formally in Moscow City, but it's very close to it.

Just, you know, kind of just past the city limits. And, you know, it's where you see a lot of people go at this time of the week to shop, to see concerts. They were going to see a Soviet Era band that was due to play this evening. So over the hundreds of people inside the auditorium when -- what appeared to be at least four gunmen walking in to the shopping mall, to the concert venue, dressed in camouflage, fatigues carrying automatic weapons.

Some incredibly disturbing video that we've watched, but we're not broadcasting at the moment of them firing into groups of apparently innocent bystanders just in the shopping mall. And you can hear some of the gunshots ringing out there in that -- in that video that we're playing to you now. So, an incredibly difficult scene to watch. And, you know, a really major event that still unfolding is still taking place, basically very close to the Russian capital, Isa. SOARES: Horrific visuals and you can just imagine the chaos, Matthew. I mean, do we know Matthew on these four gunmen, do we -- do we know them been neutralized, do we know how many people are still inside? I know, it's all developing very quickly inside this concert hall?

CHANCE: We don't -- we don't have information like that. I mean, in situations like this is more things we don't know that we do know. We don't know the identity of the -- of the gunman. We don't know whether the situation has been neutralized yet whether they've been killed or detained or anything like that. And we don't know how many people are trapped inside the building which is on fire as you can see from those images.

We know that the roof has collapsed according to Russian state television and that doesn't bode well if there's anybody inside. But you saw those images of the auditorium. It was -- it was a pretty crowded auditorium with hundreds of people inside it. We know that 100 people have been injured according to these preliminary figures and at least 40 people have been killed. And I think the expectation is although, you know, it's speculative, but the expectation is that figure could rise in the hours ahead.


SOARES: And I'm seeing that RIA Novosti said that the in terms of the fire that they threw a grenade or incendiary which then started a fire which why we're seeing these scenes. I also saw, Matthew, and I wonder we can give me some context on this. The U.S. embassy in Moscow had issue a security alert, I think it was two weeks ago on March 7th. What more can you tell us?

CHANCE: Yes. It was an extraordinarily prescient security alert in retrospect, because it basically said, look, you know, we are looking at intelligence which suggests an extremist attack will take place in the area. And it will be targeting places where lots of people gather. They said it was an imminent threat. And they mentioned concerts as being one possible target for these extremists that they said that they were monitoring.

I mean, at the time, the Russian authorities essentially dismissed that warning from the U.S. government and also from the British government as well that issued a similar alert from their embassy in Moscow. Vladimir Putin calling it a provocation, saying that it was intended to destabilize and intimidate the -- that's our society, he said, but obviously, in retrospect, it seems that the intelligence may have had something to it.

I spoke to the U.S. Embassy over the course of the past few minutes. And they're not clarifying any further to me, but they are saying that we could expect a statement from the U.S. State Department shortly which would clarify what that intelligence was exactly who may have been involved in this. And the extent to which they shared that intelligence with the Russian security forces at the time.

SOARES: Yes. We'll keep an eye of course on the State Department and when that comes in, and we're seeing of course the scenes outside that concert hall just on the outskirts of Moscow and you can see how many ambulances (INAUDIBLE) said 50 ambulances had been on the scene. I know you say across it for us on that breaking news. Matthew Chance, appreciate it. Thank you very much.

We're going to stay across both these breaking news stories. After the break, we'll have more on the announcement that Catherine, the Prince of Wales has been diagnosed with cancer. Our royal correspondents are standing by after this. You are watching CNN.



SOARES: If you're just joining us, let me bring you up to date with the breaking news that we've been following here on CNN for the last two hours or so. Catherine, the Princess of Wales has been diagnosed with cancer. The princess says she's undergoing chemotherapy, and is in the early stages of treatment. The 42-year-old described the diagnosis as a huge shock. She has cancer, she says cancer was found during post operative tests in January following major abdominal surgery.

In a video message released just a short time ago, the prince has asked for space as well as privacy for her and her young family have listened.


CATHERINE, PRINCESS OF WALES: 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. I'm getting stronger every day by focusing on the things that will help me heal in my mind, body and spirits.


SOARES: And in the last few minutes, we've heard that Prince Harry and Meghan have just sent well wishes to Catherine. Our Max Foster is with me with the very latest. And Max, what are we hearing from Harry -- Prince Harry and Meghan?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: just got a brief line from them really. we wish health and healing for Kate and the family and hope they are able to do so privately in piece. This is one of the big messages from today from Kate, also from everyone I'm speaking to in the palace. She chose today to put out this statement in her own way. She would have had all, you know, she would have decided exactly how to do that statement.

And she wanted to wait for the kids to break up from school which happened today. They are aware this would have been big news. They didn't want everyone at school talking about it. So, presumably they're protecting them tonight. So, they're not seeing any of this coverage today. She needed time to recover from what we now know, was a major surgery on her abdomen. And she needed time to recover from that.

She and William needed time to decompress and make sense of it. She then had to start her treatment. I understand that started at the end of February. But then of course he had to figure out how to tell the kids and then when to tell the kids and they decided this was the best day and that's why we had this timing. Now everyone knows why we hadn't seen her and all those conspiracy theories. You know, I mean, what did we say about that?

SOARES: I mean, you and I had spoken at great length about these conspiracy theories that every time we rolled our eyes, right? But you can just imagine as you just did that talks us through this timeline Max give us a sense of just incredibly tough months of so it has been for her as she tried to deal of course with this and a personal aspect of health but also her children trying to shield her children.

But, you know, I've just seen a statement from Keir Starmer, Max, from the leader opposition. He says here, any cancer diagnosis is shocking, but can only imagine the added stress of receiving that news amid the lurid speculation we've seen in recent weeks. Do you think Max, this is a question of just waiting to tell the children before telling everyone else or do you think that the pressure -- all the speculation do you think played a role in getting the news out sooner? Well, how'd you read it?

FOSTER: I think they were upset by the speculation. I know that Kate was being constantly updated about, you know, the media coverage. I think the speculation was part of that because obviously we ended up having to address a lot of it because there was so much concern. There weren't many facts. I think that, you know, what I'm hearing now is that they're really calling on the media and the public to respect some privacy.

What they want to do that the priority is the kids I think at this stage, of course, there was a stage where Kate had to make sense of it. But all she's thinking about right now is the kids. She wants them to have as much normality as possible. They are going to be going out. She is going to go to be going to hospital.


That's been made pretty clear to me. What they don't want is people filming it and sharing it because they want the kids to be able to feel a sense of normality. They didn't want to lock them away, maybe as a solution to go away. I'm not sure what their plans are. But they -- normality is what they're looking for here. But she needs to continue the treatment as well. So, they're really appealing to the public.

And I don't, you know, you and I, Isa, spoken about the -- how all the speculation blew up like we've never seen before. It was because of a gap in the information. But I think that everyone's been really taken aback. And it's interesting, isn't it? That the one bit of speculation and conspiracy theory we didn't see was cancer. And I think, you know, a lot of people are looking at this now.

There was a turning point, wasn't there, in the week where people in the U.K. really did start saying we've got -- this is enough.

SOARES: It's enough, yes. Give her a space.

FOSTER: You know, I think it now is, you know, it's, you know, let's think before we just say stuff, basically.

SOARES: Yes. Hopefully this will silence the conspiracy theories and those who put those conspiracy theories out there should be a hiding --


FOSTER: And make money from them.

SOARES: And make money, indeed. Max, thank you. Appreciate it. Max Foster there for us. Let's get more now from CNN's Royal Commentator Emily Nash is with me. Emily, good to see you. I mean, just your reaction, we were all taken aback and shocked by this. As you heard Max, there are so many conspiracy theories. You know, cancer wasn't one of them.

EMILY NASH, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely not. And, you know, it's the third member of the royal family to have shared a cancer diagnosis in as many months if you take into current king and Sarah, the Duchess of York. This was the last thing anyone was expecting. At this point, as you say, in the week when the story had moved on somewhat because of the security breach around her private medical records at the London clinic.

And I think that this really, as you say, will serve as a real reminder to people not to get carried away and speculation. Nobody really knows what is going on behind the scenes.

SOARES: Yes. No one knows what's the battles are people facing behind closed doors, I think there's a lesson for so many people. Emily, talk to the pressure on the royal family because of course, the king is also dealing with -- has a cancer diagnosis, also getting chemotherapy. Now, of course, we have the Princess of Wales who of course, was always so front and center. Where does -- what kind of pressure does this leave on the other Royals?

NASH: But it goes without saying that the firm is very depleted in numbers right now in a way that it hasn't been in recent history at all. And that is going to put pressure on the fit and healthy members of the family who are already putting in extra shifts to cover the king, for example, his sister, the Princess Royal, and the Duchess of Edinburgh were out carrying out an engagement on his behalf earlier this week.

And I envisage that continuing, you know, people will want to rally around and I think as far as Kate is concerned, the general public certainly will not be expecting anything from her at this point. You know, I think that this statement from her has really put to bed, all of that clamor, not just for more information but for sighting of her which, you know, as you say, I think people should be sensing some remorse for some of the jokes and some of the humor made at her expense.

You know, obviously, that's easy to say with hindsight, but I think for those of us close to the story, we understood that this is very much not a normal situation and certainly very far from any kind of conspiracy.

SOARES: Emily Nash, appreciate it. Thank you very much, Emily. Good to see you.

And in Russia, authorities are responding -- this is the other breaking news story were are following. To a shooting and a fire at a concert hall just on the outskirts of Moscow as you can see there. We'll have the latest on that after the break.



SOARES: We are also following us our breaking news out of Russia. The deadly attack as well as a fire at a concert hall about 20 miles or so from the center of Moscow. What we know about this hour is that at least 40 people were reportedly killed and more than 100 have been hurt. This image you can see right now shows four attackers inside the venue, some of them appearing to be carrying as you can see rifles.

This is a concert hall in Moscow. One witness told Russian state media that the attacker shot in all directions and then started the fire. RIA Novosti said they threw a grenade or incendiary, which started that fire. Let's get the very latest. Our Fred Pleitgen is monitoring this for us and joins me now. And Fred, what do we know? What more are you learning at this stage?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Isa. I think one of the things that's quite troubling for the authorities in Moscow, in fact, for the people in Moscow as well is that the situation could very well still be ongoing. Because what we haven't heard yet, from the authorities there on the ground in Moscow, the Russian authorities is them saying that they've possibly apprehended or stopped the people that have done this.

So, this is clearly still an ongoing security situation. I think one of the things that we see on the images that are incoming on some of the live pictures but also some of the tape pictures, as well as just the amount of security forces that are out there, the amount of emergency medical personnel that. And then of course, that fire also in the Crocus City Hall. The initial images that we got, and that we saw seem to show those four attackers already pulling out long rifles outside of the Crocus City Hall and then going inside.

And, you know, I've actually been at the Crocus City Hall and in that place in Krasnogorsk, on a number of occasions. It is an extremely large venue that we're talking about. It's sort of a shopping and entertainment center. And the pictures that we saw from the inside of that venue also strongly indicate that it is large that there were a lot of people who were inside. And as you pointed out, Isa, eyewitnesses saying that apparently the attackers shot point blank at this point in time. The authorities are confirming 40 people killed, Isa.

SOARES: Yes. Just really horrific visually seeing what we don't know at this stage. And correct me if I'm wrong here, Fred is whether the gunmen, the four gunmen that we saw there with rifles, whether they've been neutralized. We also don't know, in terms of people trapped, how many people trapped inside. But let me just bring you up to date with what we've just hearing from the U.S. Embassy, Fred.

The U.S. embassy in Moscow is shocked by reports of a terrorist attack at Crocus City Hall in Moscow. This is their words. And it's interesting because the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Fred had issued a security alert just two weeks ago. Talk to that.

PLEITGEN: Yes. That was on March 7th and that security alert spoke specifically about possible attacks on concert venues among others. And of course, we know that Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, only two days ago, three days ago, I'm sorry, called those statements a provocation. So that was a provocation by the United States. And by the way, he did that, as he was talking in front of people from the FSB, from Russia's intelligence service who he was telling that they need to be more vigilant for instance about interference from the United States.

So clearly, the warning from the United States of was out there and clearly Vladimir Putin seems to be quite angry about that warning at least that's what he said after he was reelected a few days ago.


And he said this on March 19th. And now we have the situation unfolding here and now but you're absolutely right. It is impossible to tell who is possibly behind all this, especially since the authorities have not yet come out and said they have managed to either to apprehend or otherwise neutralize the attackers in this -- who conducted this, Isa.

SOARES: Yes. Still very much like you seems an active situation. I know you'll stay across it for us. Fred Pleitgen, thank you very much, Fred. And we're going to take a break. We'll return with more on our breaking news that we've been following. Too busy stories been following here and have more of course and the Prince of Wales cancer diagnosis after this short break. Don't go anywhere.


SOARES: Returning to our top story. Kensington Palace has announced that Catherine the Prince of Wales has cancer. The British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says she showed tremendous bravery for coming forward with her diagnosis. You can see there, the French president Emmanuel Macron also praising her resilience. We've also heard in the last hour or so from us first lady Jill Biden who wrote on X, that about for instance, you are brave, and we love you.

And as we've heard from Max earlier, in the last 10 minutes or so, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle also wished Catherine healing and said their hope she could do so in peace. Ana Stewart is monitoring all the reaction and joins me now. And Ana, really so many people are shocked, of course, by this news -- by this news. And hearing it directly from the Princess of Wales.

ANA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Yes. And this comes after weeks of speculation. Of course, we got that first statement in January, I think it was 17th when we discovered that the Prince of Wales had been admitted to hospital to have planned abdominal surgery. But the weeks that followed, speculation grew and it really the last few weeks sort of hit a -- sort of pressure point, I suppose.

And now I'm sure lots of people will understand why the Prince and Princess of Wales have been so quiet on her condition and her recovery. Because it's been a very difficult -- a very difficult few weeks and few months for them at this stage. And I think having all that pressure from the media, from social media, from the public, to explain themselves and give more information on the -- on the medical condition.

Well, now they have all that information. And the plea from the Princess at the end of her video statement was we hope that you will understand that as a family, we now need some time space and privacy while I complete my treatment. So, here's hoping that she gets that privacy she wants.

SOARES: Yes, indeed. Ana, appreciate it. Thank you very much. That does it for this hour for us. Thank you very much. I'm Isa Soares. The news continues right here on CNN. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper is next.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: -- explosive device and starting to fire. Russian media reporting at least 40 people were killed. That number is expected to rise with at least 100 other people wounded or injured. We're following every update on this attack which the Russian government is calling a terrorist attack and we're going to bring you those updates live.

The second major breaking news story we're following this afternoon. Catherine, the Princess of Wales, announcing that she has cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. Princess Kate says the cancer was found after major abdominal surgery in January. The palace says King Charles who is also undergoing chemotherapy right now is "so proud of Katherine" for her courage in sharing her cancer diagnosis.