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The mood was somber Friday afternoon in the section of Manhattan’s West Village that some people call Little Britain after Catherine, Princess of Wales, announced that she was being treated for cancer.

At Myers of Keswick, a shop on Hudson Street that sells British goods like Hobnobs biscuits, Wilkin & Sons marmalade and steak and ale pie, Jennifer Myers-Pulidore, the owner, said she had watched the announcement live while fielding alarmed texts from her father, Peter Myers. He opened the store 39 years ago and is now retired and living back in Keswick, England.

“I feel for her,” said Ms. Myers-Pulidore, 45, who was born in New York and grew up spending summers in Keswick. With three children of her own, she said she could relate to the princess’s desire to address the matter with her family before discussing it publicly.

“I understand wanting to protect the children,” Ms. Myers-Pulidore said. “I can’t imagine living in the limelight as they do.”

She said she had not kept up with the recent wave of speculation online about why Catherine had not been seen much in public since undergoing abdominal surgery earlier this year. Ms. Myers-Pulidore had nothing good to say about those who had spread wild rumors.

“It’s awful. It’s sort of pathetic that she couldn’t even have time in private,” she said. “It almost makes me think she had no other option but to come clean.”

For Ms. Myers-Pulidore, the news stirred painful memories of Princess Diana, a previous Princess of Wales to whom the store owner considers Catherine a spiritual heir.

“She, in England, is loved,” Ms. Myers-Pulidore said of Catherine. “People think of her as the people’s princess.”

After Diana’s death; the death of Queen Elizabeth II; King Charles’s cancer diagnosis; and estrangement between William, Prince of Wales, and his brother, Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, Ms. Myers-Pulidore said she worried about the British royal family’s future.

“I hope they will make it,” she said.

Outside the shop, Richard Barnett winced while discussing the news.

“It’s all very sad,” said Mr. Barnett, a London native who has lived in New York for 35 years. He added that he hoped Catherine’s treatment would be successful and that her recovery would be swift and comfortable.

“Wish her the best,” he said. “And peace and quiet.”

Asked whether he had followed the recent gossip and speculation about Catherine that Ms. Myers-Pulidore had condemned, Mr. Barnett nodded.

“It’s good she stopped the rumors,” he said.

Outside Tea & Sympathy, a British restaurant a few blocks away on Greenwich Avenue, Dave Heenan shook his head when asked about the news.

“It’s awful. I’m devastated — the whole royal family, they’re cursed!” said Mr. Heenan, 81, who moved to New York from Newcastle, England, in 1963. He said that, like other British people, he had come to love Catherine and was excited about her future.

“She’s the one member of the royal family who could really carry that crown,” he said.

One positive thing he could say was that he had been able to share his feelings with fellow English men and women: “It brings English people together.”

Iain Anderson, Tea & Sympathy’s manager, said he had become concerned about Catherine recently as she stayed out of the public eye and rumors about her flew. He said that to him, the announcement on Friday felt forced.

“Maybe they had to say something because of the public pressure,” Mr. Anderson, who is originally from Gloucestershire, England, said. “If they had to open up about this and they didn’t want to, that’s unfortunate.”

Like Ms. Myers-Pulidore, he said he had a grim feeling of déjà vu.

“We’ve had all this before with Lady Diana,” he said

.

Michael West, a Briton living in Manhattan, said he was reminded of Queen Elizabeth II’s death two years ago as well as King Charles’s cancer diagnosis.

“It just seems as though trouble comes in threes,” he said as he passed the British Consulate on Second Avenue. “And it just seems as though, for that family at the moment, that perhaps trouble comes in tens.”

Mr. West is originally from a village called Higham, famous as the place where Charles Dickens died. He said that although Catherine had not been born into royalty, she had fit well into her role as a Windsor.

“Among my family and friends, people were happy with them,” he said of the family, adding, “They do their job with grace.”

Sean Piccoli contributed reporting.

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