Carole Middleton has become a “Mary Poppins type figure" for George, Charlotte and Louis

The Princess of Wales attends Ascot with her mother Carole Middleton
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Princess of Wales is currently undergoing preventative chemotherapy, having been diagnosed with cancer, and as such, is taking a temporary step back from royal duties while she recovers.  

The 42-year-old announced the news in a rare public update on her health, telling the world that "it had been an incredibly tough couple of months for [the] entire family", but that she is "getting stronger every day".

As the mother of three recovers privately in Windsor, she is said to be surrounded by a solid support network, who are helping her, Prince William and their children navigate these difficult months. 

The Middleton family is at the centre of this network, with royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliam, via The Sun, describing them as "her rock" and calling them "tremendously helpful, especially regarding the children".

"The Middletons are clearly a very, very important part of her and William's life," he explained. "At the moment, absolutely pivotal, I would say. We know that there is a tremendously strong bond between her mother [and] her parents, also siblings, and also that they live in close proximity or relatively close proximity." 

It is Kate's mum, Carole Middleton, who is reported to be the leader of the Wales family's support system, with multiple sources crediting her for keeping everything together.

"Carole has been the driving force keeping the family together and given them endless support," a friend of the family told the Independent. "She's been a real Mary Poppins-like figure."

“Her parents are an enduring factor in the upbringing of their grandchildren,” another source explained via People. “And they will be a reassuring presence when she goes back to Windsor to recuperate.”

It is not known when the Princess of Wales will return to public duties, with Kate asking for "some time, space and privacy" while she completes her treatment. 

"My work has always brought me a deep sense of joy and I look forward to being back when I am able," she announced in her video statement. "But for now I must focus on making a full recovery."

We will continue to update this story.

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.