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Sarah, Duchess of York has spoken exclusively to HELLO! about her cancer diagnosis and how it has changed her outlook on life© David Venni

Sarah, Duchess of York is feeling 'better than ever' after cancer diagnoses and why her outlook is positive - exclusive

The Duchess talks about her 'exceptional family' and encouraging people to be vigilant about their health

Laura Benjamin
News Director
June 2, 2024
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Sarah, Duchess of York is feeling "better than ever" following two cancer diagnoses. 

Last summer, she was diagnosed with breast cancer during a routine mammogram, undergoing a single mastectomy; six months later, she was found to have malignant melanoma.

 Now, although she has been told by her doctors that she shouldn't use the phrase "cancer-free" and is having regular check-ups for any recurrence, the outlook is positive.

In an exclusive interview and photoshoot with HELLO! inside the fittingly named Royal Suite at the Fairmont Windsor Park hotel, Sarah opens up about her last year and reveals whether she's still having treatment. 

"I have to be checked regularly and I have to put cream on my face to get out past sun damage, which means big blisters on my face, chest and hands for three weeks. But I'm not doing immunotherapy, taking any drugs or doing chemotherapy, for which I'm very grateful."

 She got through that time, she tells HELLO!, with the help of her closest loved ones: her children Princess Beatrice, 35, and Princess Eugenie, 34, along with Beatrice’s stepson Wolfie, eight, and daughter Sienna, two, and Eugenie’s sons, three-year-old August and Ernest, who turned one last week.

The 64-year-old has praised her daughter, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and her family for being by her side the past year© David Venni
The 64-year-old has praised her daughter, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and her family for being by her side the past year

 "I have the most exceptional family and I have an extraordinarily great team and I have an enormous ability to turn to joy," she tells HELLO!

"I have always brought up my girls to be so honest and frank that they know I’m going to tell it to them straight, however difficult it is," she continues. "So when they said: 'Mummy, tell us the absolute truth – have they got all the cancer out?' and the answer was yes, they knew they were safe."

Sarah has since made it her mission to encourage people to be vigilant about their health and says the experience has influenced her outlook on life.

The exclusive shoot took place in the Royal Suite at the Fairmont Windsor Park hotel© David Venni
The exclusive shoot took place in the Royal Suite at the Fairmont Windsor Park hotel

"I think it woke me up," she says. "It gave me a swift kick in the butt and told me: 'Right, are you going to start living now, at 64, or are you going to keep on not quite living?' You don't have to be what everyone wants you to be: just be yourself.

"One of the only people who saw me properly was the Queen [the late Elizabeth II] and before she died, she said: 'Sarah, being yourself is enough.’

"I haven't shown my huge personality properly, because I've tried to keep it under the cushion. 'It's too much,' or: 'Shut up, no one wants to hear from you.' I remember my father telling me: 'You're a bore.' And now I'm just not excusing myself any more."

Speaking about the importance of spreading awareness, the Duchess adds: "I really don't want people to go through what the past year has meant to me, mentally as well as physically. I want readers to think: 'I mustn't wait, I must get screened.'"

Sarah was told her melanoma news on 31 December at 4pm© David Venni
Sarah was told her melanoma news on 31 December at 4pm

Passionate about her charity work – she has established Sarah's Trust to work with organisations that match her values and has been a patron of the British Heart Foundation and the Teenage Cancer Trust for decades – she is also immensely proud of her career as a writer.

She is about to publish the paperback version of A Woman of Intrigue, her second work of historical fiction for Mills & Boon and a follow-up to 2021 bestseller Her Heart for a Compass.

"I really feel as if I have embarked on a new career in my 60s; I am proud to call myself an author," Sarah tells us.

Touching on the success of A Women of Intrigue when it came out in hardback last year, under a different title, the Duchess adds: "To have a book out which comes from your imagination is pretty extraordinary. My novels have been very well received by readers, which was immensely gratifying. It was such a proud moment for me when both made the Sunday Times bestseller list."

A Woman of Intrigue is out on Thursday, published by HQ, priced £9.99.

To the full interview with Sarah, Duchess of York, pick up the latest issue of HELLO! on sale in the UK now. You can subscribe to HELLO! to get the magazine delivered free to your door every week or purchase the digital edition online via our Apple or Google apps.


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