Stephen Colbert Walks Back Kate Middleton Jokes After Cancer Diagnosis

Stephen Colbert has addressed his comments making fun of Kate Middleton’s “disappearance from public life,” but stopped short of an apology.

“I don’t know if you have noticed, but we do a lot of shows, and I tell a lot of jokes. And I tell jokes about a lot of different things, mostly what everybody’s talking about,” Colbert said during his show on Monday night.

“And for the last six weeks to two months, everybody has been talking about the mystery of Kate Middleton’s disappearance from public life, and two weeks ago, we did some jokes about that mystery.”

“When I made those jokes, that upset some people — even before her diagnosis was revealed — and I can understand that,” he continued. “I mean, a lot of my jokes have upset people in the past. And I’m sure some of my jokes will upset people in the future. But there’s a standard that I try to hold myself to, and that is I do not make light of somebody else’s tragedy.”

“Now, I don’t know whether her prognosis is a tragic one ... but regardless of what it is, I know — and I’m sure many of you, far too many of us know — that any cancer diagnosis of any kind is harrowing for the patient and for their family,” Colbert said. “And, though I’m sure they don’t need it from me, I and everyone here at ‘The Late Show’ would like to extend our well-wishes and heartfelt hope that her recovery is swift and thorough.”

On the March 13 episode of “The Late Show,” Colbert referenced conspiracies from “internet sleuths” that were “guessing that Kate’s absence may be related to her husband and the future king of England, William, having an affair.”

While much was falsely speculated about the Princess of Wales’ supposed disappearance, Kensington Palace made it clear in January (and again in February) that the royal would be away from public duties until after Easter, as she recovered from abdominal surgery.

Kate revealed her cancer diagnosis in a video last week. She said the news of her condition, which was initially thought to be noncancerous, was a “shock” to William and their three children.

“My medical team therefore advised that I should undergo a course of preventative chemotherapy, and I am now in the early stages of that treatment,” she said in the video.

“It has taken me time to recover from major surgery in order to start my treatment,” she continued. “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 OK.”

After months of speculation and false conspiracy theories, Kate revealed last week that she had been diagnosed with cancer.
After months of speculation and false conspiracy theories, Kate revealed last week that she had been diagnosed with cancer. BBC Studios/The Prince and Princess of Wales

On Friday, a Kensington Palace spokesperson shared that Kate began preventative chemo in late February but did not reveal the type of cancer she has or its severity.

“We will not be sharing any further private medical information,” the spokesperson said. “The Princess has a right to medical privacy, as we all do.”