In front of a bed of daffodils, Kate Middleton sat on a bench and shared that her absence from public appearances was because she had cancer.

bunch of daffodils

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Why Daffodils Symbolize Hope for Princess Catherine

By Jill Brooke

Oh how we all wish Princess Catherine of Wales a speedy recovery and private time to heal and be with her family.

In front of a bed of daffodils, Kate Middleton sat on a bench and shared that her absence from public appearances was because she had cancer. Following abdominal surgery, post-operative tests revealed she had the dreaded disease that impacts so many. As much as 1 in 2 women or 1 in 3 men will develop cancer in their lifetime.

She shared how she has been undergoing chemotherapy since February.

The British have often expressed personal sentiments through flowers.  In the language of flowers, daffodils represent new beginnings as well as resilience. In fact, there is a Daffodil Day each year. Wearing the flowers is a statement in support of survivors and a call to fight the disease. Survivors, patients, friends and family wear a daffodil on their lapels.

daffodil field
Photo Credit: Pixabay

With their bright cheerful colors, daffodils are a flower that uplifts the spirit. But as with many flowers and their link to symbolism, there are also connections to scientific data. While daffodils have been used medicinally since the times of Ancient Greece, a 2018 study found that a daffodil’s natural extract of hemamnthamine (HAE) can help cells resist apoptosis, also known as cell death. They also revealed that HAE activates an “antitumoral surveillance pathway.” The results serve to illuminate the mechanism by which the plants in the family known as Amaryllidaceae alkaloids can combat cancer. Another study showed how the flower is also helping combat heart disease problems.

We love how daffodils  are also planted alongside the route of the Boston Marathon in the U.S. since the horrific bombing in 2013. These flowers represent rebirth, new beginnings and courage.

In her two-minute video, she was not only Princess Catherine of Wales but a 42-year-old mom, wife, friend and relative asking for time to process this diagnosis.

“It has taken us time to explain everything to George, Charlotte and Louis in a way that is appropriate for them,” she said. “We hope that you will understand that, as a family, we now need some time, space and privacy while I complete my treatment.”

With that sentiment in mind, let me also share this rose as a tribute to the human spirit, a respect for desired privacy and a job well done for someone who represents class, refinement and elegance in such a crass world. Cancer is scary for everyone. Flowers teach us about resilience as well as finding the beauty in our surroundings.

It has been said that she is indeed an English rose.  Roses recognize that life has thorns but also beauty. This “ William and Catherine” English shrub rose is from David Austin and was named after the couple when they married in 2011. 

There is also a  Sweet Kate spiderwort and the Princess Kate clematis from Spring Hill Nursery.

As Luther Burbank wisely said, “Flowers always make people better and happier, they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.”

In what Princess Catherine described understandably as “an incredibly tough couple of months for our entire family,” she added how she is “well and getting stronger every day by focusing on the things that will help me heal in my mind, body and spirits.”

And, as we know, flowers not only heal but comfort.

Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD and a contributor to Florists Review magazine. She also won the 2023 AIFD (American Institute of Floral Design.) Merit Award for showing how flowers impact history, news and culture