St Andrews residents send messages of support to 'brave' Kate

William and Kate
The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay said it felt like "coming home" to St Andrews when they visited in 2011

Residents of St Andrews have spoken of their shock at learning Catherine, Duchess of Rothesay, has been diagnosed with cancer.

The town has been synonymous with the Royal couple who met there while studying at St Andrews university.

The first minister has also expressed his well wishes to the Royal Family during this "very difficult time".

On a visit for the university's 600th anniversary in 2011, Prince William said visiting the town felt "like coming home".

Roslyn Bates and Rowan Payne
Student's Roslyn Bates (left) and Rowan Payne (right) said online comments about the duchess' health prior to the announcement were "quite insensitive".

Student Roslyn Bates said: "She is so connected here, everyone has been talking about it.

"It was just this big mystery and all of this horrible stuff online and to find out it's this horrible, horrible thing and people have been so mean about it and really quite insensitive.

"I think it's a very private matter and there was so much public pressure for her to talk about it and I don't think it's right."

Social media speculation regarding the duchess' health had increased following the release of a Mother's Day image which was later found to have been edited.

Additional theories circulated after a video published of her at a farm shop was claimed by some social media users to be a "body-double".

Student, Rowan Payne said she found the duchess' video statement "quite raw".

She said: "I think it's a shame it came to that because it must have been so, so hard."

First Minister Humza Yousaf said he was "deeply saddened" to hear the news.

He said: "I think for anybody having to go through cancer treatment and to get that diagnosis, it must be a really difficult moment let alone having to address that publicly in the way she has had to do.

"My thoughts are very much with the Princess of Wales, the Duchess of Rothesay, of course her husband the Prince of Wales and their children but also with the Royal Family as a whole.

"We know of course it’s a very difficult time with King Charles’ diagnosis as well so I hope that Princess Catherine’s pleas for privacy are listened to and heeded by all."

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar echoed the first ministers well wishes.

Mr Sarwar said the video was "courageous" with Mr Ross adding: "So many people will be able to relate to this situation because of their own experience with cancer or that of a loved one."

Jean Gordon and Laura Bailey
Mother and daughter Jean Gordon and Laura Bailey said the Duchess of Rothesay had been "very brave" in sharing her diagnosis

In her televised statement on Friday, the Duchess of Rothesay as she is known on official engagments in Scotland said the past couple of months had been "incredibly tough" for the family who are also facing King Charles' cancer diagnosis.

She explained it had taken time for her to heal from surgery and to explain her diagnosis to her children in a way that is "appropriate for them" and to "reassure them that I am going to be okay".

Mother and daughter Jean Gordon and Laura Bailey said it was "very brave" for the duchess to share the information.

Ms Gordon said: "We really feel for her. I think she's very brave and the fact she said giving hope to other people with cancer when she's in so much pain herself, it says a lot for her. We send our love to her."

Simon Mortlock
Simon Mortlock said the duchess is a "wonderful woman" and "a good advert for St Andrews".

Kensington Palace has not disclosed the type of cancer she has been diagnosed with but said they are confident she will make a full recovery.

King Charles, who was diagnosed with cancer himself this year, said he was "so proud of Catherine for her courage".

St Andrews local Simon Mortlock,said: "I’ve had bowel cancer myself a couple of years ago. It’s a tough thing – for yourself and for your family.

"I think she’s a wonderful woman and I wish her all the best and I think she’s a good advert for St Andrews and so is Prince William. Good wishes to all of them – including King Charles – I hope they all get well soon."