Strictly Come Dancing star Amy Dowden has revealed she has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
The 32-year-old professional dancer, who has partnered with stars including McFly’s Tom Fletcher, EastEnders actor James Bye, and comedian Brian Conley during her time on Strictly, shared the news on social media.
“Hey all, I’ve got some news which isn’t easy to share,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “I’ve recently been diagnosed with breast cancer but I’m determined to get back on that dance floor before you know it.”
Dowden’s diagnosis comes less than a year since she married her long-term dance partner Ben Jones.
She also suffers from the bowel condition Crohn’s disease.
“I’ve been through quite a lot in my life and this is another hurdle,” she told Hello! magazine, in an interview sharing further details of her illness and diagnosis. “But if I’m positive and strong, I’ve got a really good chance of getting back out on the dancefloor as soon as possible.”
How charity event ‘potentially saved my life’
In June 2022, Dowden took part in a 100km fundraising walk, CoppaTrek! With Gi – led by I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! winner and Tom Fletcher’s wife Giovanna Fletcher – in support of breast health awareness charity CoppaFeel!.
She told Hello! it was this event that encouraged her to check her own breasts.
“CoppaFeel! has now potentially saved my life, because I don’t know how long this lump could have been there before I would have noticed and done something about it,” she said. “So me speaking out might end up saving some other people’s lives because they start checking their breasts.”
Treatment to include surgery
Dowden said she found a lump in her right breast in April, and was told earlier in May that she has grade three breast cancer.
“My doctor explained to me that there are three grades, and three is the most aggressive, but they feel like they’ve caught mine early and to not be too alarmed because grade three would be expected in somebody of my age,” she said.
Doctors have since found a second lump and the dancer is now waiting for a full treatment plan, but says it will “definitely include surgery”.
Strictly stars and other celebrities are among those who have sent messages of support to Dowden on Instagram.
TV and radio presenter Clara Amfo, who appeared on the show in 2020, wrote: “Darling Amy, sending you all the healing strength and love.”
Social media star Joe Sugg, who took part in 2018, said: “Sending you all the love, best wishes and strength Amy.”
Dancers including Dianne Buswell and Oti Mabuse also shared messages, with Buswell writing: “Our Welsh dragon is going to fight this !!!! and I can not wait for the moment you are back on that dance floor with us. We love you so much Amy.”
Prince Harry in court: William’s prank call, strip club visit, and Chelsy Davy break-up – duke faces more questions from Mirror publisher’s lawyer
Prince Harry has answered questions about a prank voicemail left by his brother William, a visit to a strip club, and his break-up with Chelsy Davy, in his second day giving evidence at the High Court.
Harry was also asked if he would be “disappointed” should the court not find in his favour and decide details about his private life were not obtained by phone hacking by Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) journalists.
The Duke of Sussex said he would be “speculating”, but when pushed further he replied to say he would “feel some injustice”.
Harry told the court: “I believe that phone hacking was [done] on an industrial scale across at least three of the papers at the time… that is beyond any doubt.
“To have a decision against me and any of the other people [bringing a claim], given that Mirror Group have admitted hacking [in relation to other cases], yes it would feel like an injustice… if it wasn’t accepted.”
Andrew Green KC, representing MGN, then asked the duke: “So you want to have been phone hacked?”.
“Nobody wants to be phone hacked,” he replied.
In 2014, MGN admitted liability in four cases of phone hacking, and since then has settled dozens of claims, with stars including Hugh Grant and Sienna Miller. The publisher denies the allegations made by Harry.
Harry arrived outside the court’s Rolls Building in central London in a black Range Rover shortly before 10am, wearing a dark suit and silver tie, before entering the witness box again after nearly five hours of cross-examination on Tuesday.
His witness statement has also been released, containing the full details of all his allegations against MGN, publisher of the Daily Mirror and other titles – a lawsuit that makes him the first senior royal to give evidence in a UK court in more in than 100 years.
After resuming his questioning this morning, Mr Green asked Harry about an article headlined “Chel Shocked”, published in the People in 2006, which reports how his then girlfriend Ms Davy was angry about the royal allegedly receiving a lap dance during a night out with cadet friends.
In his witness statement, Harry said he does not remember Ms Davy being mad at him. “We did speak about it over the phone, but I promised her that I hadn’t had a lap dance and stayed with the three other cadets that had girlfriends,” he wrote.
Speaking in court, Harry said parts of the article were “factually incorrect” – including a reference to a “tall statuesque blonde” who bore a “striking resemblance” to Ms Davy.
Mr Green put it to Harry that many MGN stories included as part of his case contained information that was already available elsewhere, including in articles by rival news outlets.
One story published by the now defunct News Of The World at the time contained details of a voicemail left by Prince William to Harry, mimicking Ms Davy’s “high-pitched” accent, the barrister told the court – saying this was an “important step” to police arresting Clive Goodman, the then royal editor at the News Of The World, and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, over royal phone hacking.
Harry said he was aware of this.
Mr Green also asked about an article headlined “Hooray Harry’s dumped” – which the duke said was “hurtful to say the least” and that “such a private moment was turned into a bit of a laugh”.
The barrister said the “Hooray” name had been used to describe the royal in previous stories and “was not celebrating the demise of your relationship.”
Pop star appears outside Harry court case
Before today’s evidence began, former East 17 star Brian Harvey turned up outside court, shouting about corruption.
He told Sky News that he too was a victim of phone hacking, and that the media is “a joke”.
During his first day in court, Harry criticised Piers Morgan, and said in his witness statement that he felt “physically sick” at the thought of the former Mirror editor and his “band of journalists” allegedly “earwigging” on his mother Princess Diana‘s messages.
Morgan later told Sky News he did not see any of Harry’s comments, but added: “I wish him luck with his privacy campaign and look forward to reading about it in his next book.”
As part of our special programmes on the case, Sky News is transcribing Harry’s evidence and recreating his court appearance with an actor.
The royal is suing MGN, attempting to prove that reporters for the Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People titles were linked to methods including phone hacking, so-called “blagging” or gaining information by deception, and use of private investigators, between 1996 and 2010.
He claims about 140 articles contained information gathered using unlawful methods, and 33 of these have been selected to be considered at the trial.
MGN is contesting the claims and has either denied or not admitted each of them. The publisher also argues that some of the claimants have brought their legal action too late.
Duke was calm on day one – but there’s much more to come
Which articles have been brought up in the duke’s case?
The key people named in Prince Harry’s witness statement
As well as Harry, there are three other representative claimants involved in the case: Coronation Street actor Michael Turner, known professionally as Michael Le Vell, who is best known for playing Kevin Webster; Hollyoaks and former Coronation Street actress Nikki Sanderson; and comedian Paul Whitehouse’s ex-wife Fiona Wightman.
They are representative of more than 100 claimants overall, including singer and TV star Cheryl, ex-footballer and pundit Ian Wright, and the estate of the late George Michael.
Harry In Court – watch special programme on Sky News tonight at 9pm
‘I’ll read about it in his next book’ – Piers Morgan hits back at Prince Harry’s criticism
Piers Morgan has hit back at Prince Harry after receiving fierce criticism from the royal during his phone hacking trial.
The Duke of Sussex said the thought of the former editor of the Daily Mirror and his “band of journalists” earwigging on his mother’s messages “makes me feel physically sick”.
Morgan told Sky News he didn’t see any of Harry’s comments, but added: “I wish him luck with his privacy campaign and look forward to reading about it in his next book.”
Prince Harry‘s comments were written on page 12 of his 55-page witness statement, which claims that 33 articles written by papers owned by the Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) involved unlawful information gathering by the publisher, including phone hacking.
Prince Harry court case as it happened
The Duke of Sussex wrote: “The thought of Piers Morgan and his band of journalists earwigging into my mother’s private and sensitive messages (in the same way as they have me) and then having given her a ‘nightmare time’ three months prior to her death in Paris, makes me feel physically sick and even more determined to hold those responsible, including Mr Morgan, accountable for their vile and entirely unjustified behaviour.”
Yesterday, the High Court heard of allegations that Princess Diana’s phone was hacked by the paper when it was under Morgan’s supervision from 1995 to 2004.
Prince Harry’s lawyer, David Sherborne, read aloud details of letters she wrote to comedian Michael Barrymore that revealed the pair had secret meetings, and that the Princess was supporting Barrymore who was “struggling with coming out as gay”.
He said that in Morgan’s book, The Insider, he refers to “rumours” that Diana was “secretly comforting” Barrymore and that he was being treated for alcohol addiction.
Which articles have been brought up in the duke’s case?
The key people named in Prince Harry’s witness statement
In his witness statement – paragraph 42 – Harry writes: “Mr Morgan’s reference to ‘secret’ meetings, I can only assume that this information had been obtained via voicemail interception and/or other unlawful information gathering such as live land line tapping.”
‘Barrage of horrific personal attacks’
Morgan has always denied any involvement in, or knowledge of phone-hacking or other illegal activity, but has very publicly criticised both Harry and his wife, Meghan, in the past.
Later in the statement – paragraph 194 – Prince Harry accuses Morgan of inflicting a “barrage of horrific personal attacks and intimidation” on both him and Meghan.
“Unfortunately, as a consequence of me bringing my Mirror Group claim, both myself and my wife have been subjected to a barrage of horrific personal attacks and intimidation from Piers Morgan, who was the Editor of the Daily Mirror between 1995 and 2004, presumably in retaliation and in the hope that I will back down, before being able to hold him properly accountable for his unlawful activity towards both me and my mother during his editorship,” he wrote.
Morgan’s spokesperson had no comment on Harry’s claims.
Piers Morgan Vs Harry and Meghan: A brief history
The Duke of Sussex today firmly put Piers Morgan in the spotlight for his alleged actions as editor of the Daily Mirror.
But Morgan’s relationship with the royal couple has a complex history.
Morgan first met Meghan in 2016, before she met Prince Harry.
The pair “got on brilliantly” and “had a couple of dirty martinis” according to Morgan, who told RTE’s The Late Late Show in 2019.
But their relationship quickly turned sour after Meghan met Harry, when Morgan accused the duchess of “ghosting” him.
“I just think she’s a slight social climber,” he told Late Late host Ryan Tubridy.
Morgan’s criticism of the couple then escalated after their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, in which Meghan said she “didn’t want to be alive anymore”.
Reacting to the interview, Morgan said he “didn’t believe a word” of it, while presenting ITV’s Good Morning Britain (GMB).
His comments sparked furious outrage from the public, with 41,000 Ofcom complaints and mental health charity Mind stating they were “disappointed” by his comments.
Perhaps most famously of all, Morgan stormed off the set of GMB, and later left his role as presenter, after clashing with fellow presenter Alex Beresford about the interview.
Morgan maintained his opinion even after leaving the show, saying that he didn’t believe “almost anything that comes out of her mouth” and that Meghan had done damage to the British monarchy.
“If I have to fall on my sword for expressing an honestly-held opinion about Meghan Markle and that diatribe of bilge that she came out with in that interview, so be it,” he said in March 2021.
It also emerged that Meghan formally complained about Morgan before he left GMB.
The complaint was understood to focus on how Morgan’s comments may affect the issue of mental health generally and those attempting to deal with their own problems.
What has MGN said?
Previously, MGN, now owned by Reach, has admitted its titles were involved in phone hacking, settling more than 600
claims, but its lawyer, Andrew Green KC, has maintained that there was no evidence that Harry had ever been a victim.
As Prince Harry became the first British royal to appear in a witness box in more than a century, Mr Green claimed that his phone could not have been hacked when one of the articles was published as he did not have a mobile phone at the time.
He also dismissed the claim that Diana’s voicemails were hacked as “total speculation” and “without any evidential basis whatsoever”.
Proceedings are due to conclude by the end of June, with Mr Justice Fancourt expected to give his written ruling later in the year.
Prince Harry to resume giving evidence in hacking case after blaming tabloids for ‘inciting hatred’
The Duke of Sussex is to resume giving evidence in his High Court claim against the publisher of the Daily Mirror over alleged unlawful information gathering.
The duke is suing MGN for damages, claiming journalists at its titles – which also include the Sunday Mirror and Sunday People – were linked to methods including phone hacking, so-called “blagging” or gaining information by deception, and use of private investigators for unlawful activities.
He alleges that about 140 articles published between 1996 and 2010 by Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) titles contained information gathered using unlawful methods, and 33 of these have been selected to be considered at the trial.
Harry hacking trial – as it happened on Tuesday
On Tuesday, Harry faced nearly five hours of questions as he became the first senior royal in more than two decades to appear personally in court proceedings.
In his written evidence before the court, the 38-year-old said MGN’s alleged intrusion into his life contributed to “a huge amount of paranoia” in his relationships.
In a 49-page witness statement, the duke said that he found it “very hard to trust anyone, which led to bouts of depression and paranoia”.
“Friendships were lost entirely unnecessarily,” he said, later adding that some of his friends “became instant targets”.
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Other key claims from Harry’s witness statement:
• He feels “sick” at the thought of former Mirror editor Piers Morgan and journalists allegedly hacking his mother Diana‘s phone
• He believes both the UK press and government “are at rock bottom”
• Reveals he has never been an account holder or received a bill for a mobile phone – this was dealt with “by the Institution, presumably for security purposes although that now seems rather ironic”
• He also says the Institution could “wipe our devices remotely”
Andrew Green KC, for MGN, questioned Harry on about 20 of the 33 articles over the course of Tuesday.
Harry was asked about why he has complained about articles in MGN titles when the same information had previously been put into the public domain by other media outlets.
The duke said his understanding was that MGN journalists used unlawful methods to get “exclusive” angles on existing stories or to move the story on in some way.
The key people named in Harry’s witness statement
Which articles have been brought up?
Mr Green also asked Harry about his claim that articles “caused him to be paranoid and to distrust those around him”, and whether he was referring to specific MGN articles or “the general effect of all of the articles” about him.
Harry said: “Yes, because … it is 20 years ago and I simply can’t other than speculate whether I saw these articles at the time.
“I certainly saw a lot of articles at the time and was made aware … unfortunately, by the behaviour and reaction of my inner circle.”
MGN is contesting his claim and has either denied or not admitted that articles about Harry being examined at the trial involved phone hacking or unlawful activity.
Harry’s claim is being heard alongside three other “representative” claims during a trial which began last month and is due to last six to seven weeks.
The three other representative claimants are Coronation Street actor Michael Turner, known professionally as Michael Le Vell, who is best known for playing Kevin Webster in the long-running soap, former Coronation Street actress Nikki Sanderson, and comedian Paul Whitehouse’s ex-wife Fiona Wightman.
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