Kate, Princess of Wales: Cruel trolls should leave Kate in peace to focus on her recovery - Christa Ackroyd

When I wrote this column a few weeks ago and issued my heartfelt plea to give the Princess of Wales time to recover from what had obviously been major surgery I had no idea of the terrible truth that she had been diagnosed with cancer.

Today more than one week after her heartbreaking and very moving televised health update I didn’t think I would be saying the same again. But I am. Stop. Now. And leave the poor woman alone.

We in the media have been urged in not so many words to give her the privacy and the quietness she needs to heal, in order to come to terms with her diagnosis and to reassure three very young children and to face both her treatment and the mental torment that such a diagnosis brings in private and without interference or inference.

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Because that is not only what she has asked for, but exactly what she deserves. It is what we would want too.

Catherine should be left alone to recover from her surgery and treatment, says Christa Ackroyd. Photo credit: Chris Jackson/PA WireCatherine should be left alone to recover from her surgery and treatment, says Christa Ackroyd. Photo credit: Chris Jackson/PA Wire
Catherine should be left alone to recover from her surgery and treatment, says Christa Ackroyd. Photo credit: Chris Jackson/PA Wire

Catherine, Princess of Wales is no different to you or I. She is a young woman coping with awful news. What she needs now is calm, reassuring support and the time to process what must have been a terrible shock, the time to reflect on what lies ahead and above all the time to gain strength, physically and emotionally, surrounded by those she loves, away from the headlines and all the horrid speculation.

Yet have we really heeded her wishes? Have we created the space for her to prepare herself for the battle she now faces? No we have not. And now is the time to reflect that Princess or not this endless speculation, albeit with an about turn in tone, really must end.

There has been much soul searching this last week from those who joined the clamour of ‘we have a right to know’ in some parts of the media as well as a host of so called celebrities who jumped on the bandwagon to make fun of that lovely Mothers Day picture that sparked a disproportionate amount of ‘controversy’ about what was changed how and why?

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Well now we know the furore which followed left a shattered and anxious woman who thought she was simply doing a nice thing sending love from her family to ours to face such distress she was forced to apologise. And at a time she was seriously ill.

That she has now chosen to be open up about all she is facing is brave beyond belief. But the truth is the media almost demanded it of her, completely unprepared for the reason behind the Princess’s silence. Well I hope they are proud of themselves for forcing her hand at a time when she was only just coming to terms with a diagnosis no one wants to hear.

As for those now apologising for making fun or propounding their wild conspiracy theories or even demanding she comes clean, I hope you realise that you added to the burden Catherine and her husband have been carrying these last few weeks. And hang your heads in shame. And yet it continues. I am sickened to read the even wilder conspiracy theories on social media that even the video last week in which she told the world of her diagnosis is fake.

That her engagement ring disappears (it doesn’t) and that we are all being manipulated. You cruel, cruel trolls. Take a good look at yourselves and ask how you would cope in the same situation. I am all for free speech but there has to be serious repercussions for those peddling their evil lies.

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But back to the media. I am not naive. I have been a journalist all my life and I know there is huge interest in the Royal Family and we are there in part to quench the thirst for knowledge about them. But have we really not learned now the valuable lesson that they too are entitled to privacy? That they too are real people facing life’s battles of which one of the biggest is fighting cancer? No they have not. And they must do.

That Catherine chose to share with us her serious health issues was in part to send a message to all those who have cancer to never give up hope. And to tell them they were not alone. Well how alone has she been made to feel in the days and weeks before as we demanded to know more ? So let us now heed her compassionate and personal plea to leave her in peace.

And yet I shudder to think how she must have felt these last few days if she picked up almost every newspaper with page after page filled with what amounts to little more than gossip. The Princess’s mother Carole Middleton is shocked and worried but supporting her daughter, we are told. Of course she is but we didn’t need a former Royal Correspondent to tell us to spare a thought for her too.

The King toddled off in his royal dressing gown to see his ‘beloved’ daughter in law after her operation in the same hospital where he was being treated for his cancer. Did we need to know that too? And as for claims that someone tried to access her private medical records the stress that must have caused when she was at her most vulnerable must have been intolerable.

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But what has galled me these last few days are the so called experts being wheeled out to tell us in detail what ‘preventative chemotherapy’ is. How she may lose her hair, or at least some of it. How it may be given for weeks or months. That she will probably feel unwell. How unhelpful is this ?

To the cancer experts out there happy to add to the column inches being written you can stop too. She is not your patient. You don’t know her treatment and you don’t know the medical advice she is being given. That is between her and her specialist.

Tomorrow it is hoped our King, also coping with cancer, will be well enough to attend an Easter service. The press will be out in force and I hope he looks well.

There will be absolutely no need to explain why his son, his daughter in law and their children are not there. We know. But I bet they do.

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It is exactly as I wrote two weeks ago. All we need to do is send the Princess our love and the best wishes for a speedy recovery. We know she and William have been overwhelmed at the outpouring of support they have received. Let us leave it there. To those tasked with bringing us the news can we now start give her the space she needs.

The sooner you do , the sooner she will feel strong enough to be back with us. And she will tell us when she is good and ready. Our future Queen is quite capable of speaking for herself. An insistence in dissecting the private business of the Royal family had terrible repercussions for the woman whose engagement ring she now wears.

It ended with her family genuinely believing she was hounded to her death. I thought we had promised to be better.

If we truly want to support this woman who at the age of just 42 is facing the biggest battle of her life, let us prove to her and her husband that we genuinely only want what is best for her. And that is to see her restored to full health. Nothing more needs saying.

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