Stephen Colbert slammed for not giving 'actual apology' to Kate Middleton after cancer diagnosis

US talk show host Stephen Colbert is under fire for not apologising to the Princess of Wales while addressing jokes he had made about her disappearance from the public eye.

On Monday's Late Show episode, Colbert wished Kate a speedy recovery and remorsefully recalled making gags about her prior to the cancer diagnosis as rampant conspiracy theories swirled.

Among the comments, he repeatedly joked about Prince William having an affair.

"We do a lot of shows. I tell a lot of jokes. I tell jokes about a lot of different things, mostly about what everybody is talking about," Colbert told the audience during his first show since the cancer diagnosis.

"For the last six weeks to two months, everybody has been talking about the mystery of Kate Middleton's disappearance from public life. Two weeks ago, we did some jokes about that mystery.

"When I made those jokes, that upset some people - even before her diagnosis was revealed. I can understand that a lot of my jokes have upset people in the past and 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.

"I don't know if her prognosis is a tragic one - regardless of what it is, far too many of us know that any cancer diagnosis of any kind is harrowing for the patient and for their family. 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."

His comments have drawn anger online, with many criticising him for not saying "sorry".

"No actual apology from Stephen Colbert to Kate Middleton," one person wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

"Could Stephen Colbert be any more of a jerk? This is misleading rambling, NOT an apology of any kind," another raged.

Colbert has not responded to the online comments about his "mea culpa".