WATCH: Stephen Colbert Expresses Regret Over Kate Middleton Jokes

Stephen Colbert never quite said the words “I’m sorry,” but he offered a two-minute apology of sorts to Kate Middleton on Monday night’s episode of The Late Show.

Like just about everyone else, Colbert made some easy jokes in recent weeks about the Princess of Wales’ lack of public appearances of late, with some punchlines suggesting that Prince William had an affair—punchlines that have landed Colbert in legal hot water.

However, as Middleton herself revealed late Friday, she has been battling cancer that was discovered during abdominal surgery. She is currently undergoing preventative chemotherapy. It has been a difficult time for Middleton and her family, and cheap jokes from American late night hosts surely compounded her pain.

In his comments last night, Colbert acknowledged the fine line that comedy often walks, conceding that he’d let himself and his audience down for jokes he made before Middleton’s cancer diagnosis announcement.

“For the last six weeks to two months, everybody has been talking about the mystery of Kate Middleton’s disappearance from public life. And two weeks ago, we did some jokes about that mystery and all the attendant fru-fra in the reporting about that,” explained Colbert.

“When I made those jokes, that upset some people… even before her diagnosis was revealed, and I can understand that. A lot of my jokes have upset people in the past, and I’m sure some of my jokes will upset people in the future. But there’s a standard that I try to hold myself to, and that is I do not make light of somebody else’s tragedy.”

“Now, I don’t know whether her prognosis is a tragic one — she’s the future queen of England and I assume she’s going to get the best possible medical care. But regardless of what it is, I know, and I’m sure many of you, far too many of us know, that any cancer diagnosis of any kind is harrowing for the patient and for their family. And though I’m sure they don’t need it from me, I and everyone here at The Late Show would like to extend our well wishes and heartfelt hope that her recovery is swift and thorough.”

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