Where Is Kate Middleton Now? What's Wrong With Kate Middleton? Inside the Princess' Health Battle, Photoshop Scandal and #KateGate

Kate Middleton is seen during the opening of Evelina London's new children's day surgery unit on Dec. 5, 2023, in London.

Kate Middleton has been at the center of a flood of headlines, and for once it doesn't have anything to do with her fashion choices or beefing with the Sussexes.

Kensington Palace announced in January that the Princess of Wales underwent abdominal surgery and wouldn't make public appearances until Easter. No further details were given, and in light of King Charles' cancer diagnosis, royal-watchers and conspiracy theorists went into full gear tittering about what may really be going on with her—and the palace's efforts to quell the speculation backfired spectacularly (yep, we're talking that Photoshop fail).

Below, find a Kate Middleton surgery timeline as well as answers to your burning questions about what's wrong with Kate Middleton and where Kate Middleton is now.

Related: See Kate Middleton's Best Style Moments Through the Years

When is the last time Kate Middleton was seen in public?

<em>Kate Middleton at her last official public appearance on Christmas morning with Princess Charlotte, Prince George, Prince William, Prince Louis and Mia Tindall</em><p>Samir Hussein/WireImage</p>
Kate Middleton at her last official public appearance on Christmas morning with Princess Charlotte, Prince George, Prince William, Prince Louis and Mia Tindall

Samir Hussein/WireImage

Middleton's last public appearance was at the royal Christmas morning service at Sandringham.

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Is there a Kate Middleton health update?

As far as the world knows, Middleton is still recovering from her abdominal surgery. No further details have been provided as to her condition.

Related: The Crown Recreates Kate Middleton's Racy Fashion Show Appearance

Did Kate Middleton get a hysterectomy?

Some royal-watchers speculated that Middleton may have gotten a hysterectomy due to the amount of downtime she's facing post-operation. To be clear: Not only is that really not our business, but the palace hasn't announced one way or the other what sort of procedure Middleton underwent.

Related: What Will Kate Middleton's Title Be When Prince William Is King?

Where is Kate Middleton now?

Middleton is still lying low while she recovers from abdominal surgery.

Related: Is This the Secret to Kate Middleton's Positivity?

What's wrong with Kate Middleton?

Kate Middleton attends The "Together At Christmas" Carol Service at Westminster Abbey on Dec. 08, 2023, in London. <p>Samir Hussein/WireImage</p>
Kate Middleton attends The "Together At Christmas" Carol Service at Westminster Abbey on Dec. 08, 2023, in London.

Samir Hussein/WireImage

Aside from being a bit rusty with Adobe and outed as one of the alleged "royal racists" who speculated about Prince Archie's skin color and may still have colonizer tendencies? Nothing that we know of aside from going through abdominal surgery.

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Did Kate Middleton get a BBL?

Despite a slew of social media speculation that Middleton underwent a Brazilian butt lift surgery to become Catherine the Thicc, the answer to his is, ostensibly, no, for plenty of reasons—the most obvious being that a BBL is not abdominal surgery. You guys are weird.

Related: When Will Kate Middleton Return to Public Life?

What kind of surgery did Kate Middleton have?

Middleton had abdominal surgery, but no further details were given about the nature of the procedure nor about any diagnosis that led to it.

Related: Watch Young Kate Middleton Singing In a High School Production of My Fair Lady

When was Kate Middleton spotted last?

Middleton was last seen in a car with Prince William on March 11, 2024.

Related: Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Kate Middleton

Was Kate Middleton in a coma?

No official reports or statements from Kensington Palace or elsewhere have declared that Middleton was in a coma at any point in time.

Related: Prince William's Net Worth Revealed

Does Kate Middleton have cancer?

We certainly hope not. Kensington Palace hasn't specified what medical condition Middleton is battling at this time.

Related: This Lifestyle Tweak Can Be a Game-Changer in Lowering Your Risk of Cancer Death

What has Prince William said about Kate Middleton's surgery?

Prince William, Prince of Wales, attends the 2024 Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey on March 11, 2024, in London.<p>Henry Nicholls - WPA Pool/Getty Images</p>
Prince William, Prince of Wales, attends the 2024 Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey on March 11, 2024, in London.

Henry Nicholls - WPA Pool/Getty Images

While social media (especially Twitter and TikTok) exploded with theories and questions about Middleton's condition and whereabouts, Prince William's response to questions was quite curt. A rep for the Prince of Wales merely told PEOPLE, "His focus is on his work and not on social media."

Related: Prince William's Sweetest Dad Moments

What is the big deal with Kate Middleton photo?

While the world waited with bated breath to see when and if Middleton would pop up in public, the Prince and Princess of Wales released a U.K. Mother's Day photo featuring Middleton and their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. At first, the only thing anyone noticed was weird about it was that Middleton wasn't wearing her wedding ring, which isn't that unusual.

Many saw the move as essentially a proof of life for Middleton, but aside from not containing a current newspaper, there were other issues with the photo that led news agencies to pull the image—a true rarity—because it was so clearly and heavily edited.

Several professional photographers weighed in on the image alterations to The Daily Mail, counting a total of 16 apparent changes and distortions. Going from left to right in the photo, these included:

  • The step behind Prince Louis appearing distorted

  • The top of the ledge to the left of Prince Louis appearing distorted

  • The bottom of the ledge to the left of Prince Louis appearing distorted

  • Prince Louis' thumb on his right hand appearing blurred

  • Prince Louis' sweater sleeve appearing distorted

  • Prince Louis' pinky appearing shortened on his left hand

  • Kate Middleton's right hand appearing blurred

  • Kate Middleton's jacket zipper being misaligned/uneven

  • Kate Middleton's hair appearing blurred on the right side

  • Prince George's sweater color enhanced

  • Prince George's sleeve having weirdly smooth lines

  • Part of Princess Charlotte's sleeve missing

  • Princess Charlotte's skirt sticking out in a way that defies gravity and physics

  • Princess Charlotte's hair being cut off on the left side

  • Princess Charlotte's knees appearing to be blurred

  • Princess Charlotte's hair "dipping" unnaturally on the right side

Major photo and news agencies retracted the photo as a result of its obvious "manipulation."

Obviously, with errors as blatant as Charlotte's floating wrist, the Mother's Day image did the exact opposite of its aim and only increased scrutiny and rumors about what's really going on with the Waleses. As a result of the photo edits, royal watchers, rumor mongers and conspiracy theorists are convinced every photo of Middleton since her hospitalization, including candid paparazzi shots, are staged or manipulated.

It wasn't the first time the family had a Photoshop fail, as their 2023 Christmas card image was widely mocked for its wonky edits as well.

Part of what makes the errors so egregious is that one of Middleton's passions is actually photography. She said in a 2020 interview, "One of the fantastic things about photography is really capturing that moment, so it's not staged setting, it's not setting it up perfectly. It's really capturing those moments that feel real to you. That's the power of photography: It can capture a moment and tell a story.""

Related: Public Relations Expert Weighs In On Kate Middleton Photoshop Controversy

What has Kate Middleton said about the Photoshop controversy?

Middleton released a statement after the world called out Kensington Palace on the botched editing.

"Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing," Middleton wrote from the official Kensington Palace Twitter account. "I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused. I hope everyone celebrating had a very happy Mother’s Day. C."

While that was Middleton's official statement, palace sources issued anonymous commentary to outlets as well.

A source close to Middleton told The Telegraph that she felt "awful" about the photo but simply wanted it to be "the best it could be."

Another royal source dished to Page Six, "It's an awful lot to be under all of this public scrutiny when you are recovering from major surgery. The rumor mill—particularly on social media—has gotten out of control, but Kate is recovering well and she will be back by Easter. She just needs to be left in peace."

"I worry about all this attention on Catherine," a second source told Page Six. "She did not look happy at all in the car on Monday."

Of course, the most obvious explanation for the Photoshopping of the image is one that any photographer and parent can attest to: It's really hard to get good photos of even one child, let alone three children at once. Chalking it up to that and potentially releasing some outtake shots would've been the easiest and likely most PR-savvy move for the royals, but instead, they refused to address it further and won't release the original version of the photo in question.

Related: Look Back at Kate Middleton's Pre-Royal Style

Kate Middleton Health Update Timeline

Dec. 25, 2023: Kate Middleton makes her last public appearance before her surgery.

Middleton attended the Christmas morning service at Westminster Abbey and Christmas at Sandringham with the royals, including Prince William, their three children and King Charles.

Jan. 16, 2024: Kate Middleton is hospitalized.

According to a statement issued by Kensington Palace, Middleton was admitted to the London Clinic on Jan. 16, 2024.

Jan. 17, 2024: Kensington Palace announces Kate Middleton's abdominal surgery.

Kensington Palace announced that Middleton underwent planned abdominal surgery and that the procedure went well. The palace noted that she'd likely be hospitalized for 10 to 14 days to recover before going home and that she'd not have public engagements until March 31, 2024, or later.

Jan. 18, 2024: Prince William visits Kate Middleton at the hospital.

To be clear, it's quite possible he visited prior and afterward as well, but this was the only time cameras caught the Prince of Wales leaving the London Clinic, where Middleton underwent surgery and was recovering.

Jan. 29, 2024: Kate Middleton leaves the hospital after her abdominal surgery.

Kensington Palace announces that Middleton will return to Windsor Castle to recover privately, noting that she's "making good progress."

Feb. 7, 2024: Prince William gets back to work.

Tom Cruise and Prince William at London's Air Ambulance Charity Gala Dinner on Feb. 7, 2024<p>Daniel Leal - WPA Pool/Getty Images</p>
Tom Cruise and Prince William at London's Air Ambulance Charity Gala Dinner on Feb. 7, 2024

Daniel Leal - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prince William begins attending his scheduled royal engagements again, including appearing at a gala with Tom Cruise that night. He also attended the BAFTAs on Feb. 18, 2024, sans Middleton. He's been seen out and about several times since.

Feb. 27, 2024: Prince William misses a thanksgiving service for his godfather.

On Feb. 27, 2024, Prince William was slated to attend a ceremony of thanksgiving for his late godfather, King Constantine of Greece, but canceled. Kensington Palace said in a statement at the time, "Unfortunately, The Prince of Wales is no longer able to attend the King Constantine Memorial Service this morning due to a personal matter."

The "personal matter" reportedly was unrelated to King Charles' health battle, but no further details were disclosed.

Feb. 29, 2024: Kensington Palace releases a statement on Kate Middleton's health.

After rumors began to hit their first fever pitch regarding what sort of abdominal surgery Middleton may have undergone and how she was doing since, Kensington Palace issued a firm statement.

"Kensington Palace made it clear in January the timelines of the princess' recovery and we’d only be providing significant updates," the statement read. "That guidance stands."

March 4, 2024: Kate Middleton goes for a car ride.

Kate was photographed for the first time following her hospitalization going on a car ride with her mother, Carole Middleton. Some people speculated that the photo was staged to stifle rumors about Kate's well-being, noting that almost no U.K. tabloids in the "royal rota" published the images.

March 5, 2024: Kate Middleton's first public engagement is scheduled, then removed.

The British army announced that tickets for the 2024 Trooping the Colour (which takes place in June each year) were on sale and that Middleton would be attending—and within hours, all references to her attendance were removed. It was assumed that Middleton would be at the June 8 event to celebrate her role as colonel of the Irish Guards, but Kensington Palace reportedly never confirmed she'd actually be there.

March 6, 2024: Prince William speaks out on Kate Middleton surgery rumors.

In a terse statement, a rep for the Prince of Wales griped, "His focus is on his work and not on social media." No mention of his focus being on his wife's health and recovery? Alrighty then!

March 10, 2024: Kate Middleton and Prince William share their Mother's Day photo with Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. Photo agencies pull the picture for its edits.

It's suspected that this was at least partially done to quiet the continued rumors about Middleton's well-being and whereabouts, but got the exact opposite response. Hours later, major photo agencies pulled the snapshot from their catalogs, citing its "manipulation."

March 11, 2024: Kate Middleton apologizes for Photoshopping her Mother's Day snapshot and is seen in a car with Prince William.

Middleton issued a public apology for the botched Photoshop job and is also seen in the back of a car with Prince William heading to a "private appointment."

Next, Who's Next In Line to the Throne After King Charles?