Home » British shop owners in Massachusetts wish royal family privacy after Princess Kate’s cancer diagnosis

British shop owners in Massachusetts wish royal family privacy after Princess Kate’s cancer diagnosis

PLYMOUTH – After months of speculation, Catherine, the Princess of Wales, revealed Friday that she is fighting cancer. The cancer was discovered following her abdominal surgery in January.

It was just about a year and a half ago that Princess Catherine and Prince William made a royal visit to Massachusetts, and they made a big impact on the people they met.

“It was sort of a remarkable and priceless gift,” said Roca founder Molly Baldwin.

That unforgettable gift came in the form of good company. The world watched in December 2022, as the Prince and Princess of Wales, on a short trip to Boston, chose to shine a light on Roca. The Chelsea nonprofit aims to prevent violence by focusing on social justice and mental health.

As Princess Catherine now navigates a globally discussed diagnosis – with little consideration of her feelings, Roca founder Molly Baldwin can’t help but remember how the couple made others feel.

“They were very attentive, like it’s easy to make each person feel very important while they listen and ask really thoughtful and careful questions,” Baldwin said. “Just so really kind and gracious.”

The Prince and Princess of Wales didn’t make it down to Plymouth during their visit, but British shop owners here don’t need to have met them – to feel deeply for the real person dealing with this diagnosis so publicly.

At British Imports, owner Unity MacLean was listening to BBC Radio Friday when this global headline broke. She found the video message from the Princess of Wales brave and bold, considering how she’s been treated by the tabloid press.

Catherine, Princess of Wales
Catherine, Princess of Wales, spoke about her health condition in a video message released Friday, March 22, 2024.

BBC Studios


“As a mother, she knows she had to bury the children’s lovely grandmother two years ago or 18 months ago,” said MacLean. “She doesn’t want them going to bed thinking, ‘Is my mother going to die now?’ So, for goodness sake, she kept it quiet and away from the kids and she’s been forced to release a statement about what’s been wrong with her and I think that’s cruel.”

A few doors down at Shelly’s Tea Rooms, owners admit customers have been quite curious. Now that conspiracies have gone cold, they’re sending warm wishes for peace and privacy. 

“You feel like they are part of a family, like you know them even though you don’t,” said Sean Sinclair, owner of Shelly’s Tea Rooms. “I guess with that comes a sense of entitlement. You feel entitled to know what’s going on when things like this are so serious and personal. But it’s really not our business to be involved.”

And with strangers around the world now privy to personal news they’re not necessarily owed, these British business owners are among the many wishing the royal family peace and privacy this spring.

“You’re confident she’s getting the best possible care that she could get. I think it’ll be a good outcome,” Sinclair said.

The royals have never strayed from a timeline shared in January that the Princess of Wales would be privately focusing on her recovery until at least after Easter.