Kate Middleton Could Address Health Issue When She Returns to Public Duty: Report

Rumors began circulating about the royal's wellbeing after she underwent a "planned abdominal surgery" in January

<p>Samir Hussein/WireImage</p> Kate Middleton in April 2023

Samir Hussein/WireImage

Kate Middleton in April 2023

Kate Middleton may speak out about her health when she returns to public duty, according to a new report.

The Princess of Wales' absence since her abdominal surgery on Jan. 16 has led to widespread speculation about her condition. Earlier this week, rumors escalated after Kensington Palace released an edited photo of the royal with her three children on Mother's Day in the U.K., prompting an apology from Kate.

On Saturday, The Sunday Times cited insiders close to Kate, 42, and Prince William, 41, indicating that they anticipate the couple will share details about the royal's surgery and recovery, but they will do so on their timeline and terms.

“They are at their most open when out interacting with members of the public and I can see a world in which the princess might discuss her recovery out on engagements," a royal source told the outlet. "If she was going to do it, that’s how she would do it.”

A friend added: “They will want to be clear and more open, but they’ll do it when they feel ready. I would expect that to be her instinct and it will be her call. They’re not going to be rushed.”

Related: Kate Middleton's Condition Is Shrouded in 'Radio Silence,' Palace Insider Says (Exclusive)

<p>Samir Hussein/WireImage</p> Prince William and Kate Middleton at a ceremonial welcome for the Korea's president and first lady in London on November 21, 2023

Samir Hussein/WireImage

Prince William and Kate Middleton at a ceremonial welcome for the Korea's president and first lady in London on November 21, 2023

Kensington Palace first announced on Jan. 17 that Kate had undergone a "planned abdominal surgery" and would not take part in royal duties until after Easter.

The palace reiterated that statement weeks ago when a spokesperson for the royal said, “We were very clear from the outset that the Princess of Wales was out until after Easter and Kensington Palace would only be providing updates when something was significant.”

A friend who has reportedly been in touch with the royal couple amid Kate's recovery told the U.K. outlet: “It’s not that they didn’t think there would be lots of speculation and interest, but they had confidence that people would give them the space they asked for, which they did for about a month.”

The Sunday Times also reports that Kate's potential return date may not be until April 17, coinciding with the end of her children's school break. Additionally, in recent weeks, Kate has reportedly been seen at Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis' school, Lambrook.

Related: Palace Addresses Rumors and Conspiracy Theories About Kate Middleton's Health in New Statement

According to The Sunday Times, a source cited the moment when Prince William dropped out of a ceremony to honor his godfather King Constantine of Greece in late February as the turning point when the public began questioning everything about the princess’ absence.

“He had no choice but to pull out but the reaction was disappointing,” the source told the outlet. “That blew the lid off everything with people’s impatience to know what was going on. He’s not in ‘blaming the media’ mode. He’s just really upset that his wife is having to go through all of this with her recovery, and then having to think about making statements about a family photo."

<p>The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram</p> Kate Middleton with her three children, Prince Louis, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram

Kate Middleton with her three children, Prince Louis, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

The outlet reports that Kate felt "devastated" by the controversy stirred by the photo, which was withdrawn from circulation by The Associated Press and several other news organizations due to apparent manipulation.

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Despite the scandal caused by the photo, William and Kate are expected to release a new family photo of their youngest son, Prince Louis, for his 6th birthday on April 23. However, they have not yet decided whether Kate will take the photo herself or use a professional photographer.

“They appreciate the public’s love and affection for their children and know there is a public appetite to see them on their birthdays,” an aide told The Sunday Times.

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