Kate Middleton Takes Break From Public Eye Amid Surgery Recovery

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On January 17, 2024, Kensington Palace announced that Catherine, Princess of Wales, AKA Kate Middleton, would take a break from her royal engagements until Easter as she recovered from a "planned abdominal surgery." The statement assured the public that the procedure had gone by smoothly and Kate would spend anywhere from ten days to a fortnight at the hospital before heading home to continue her recovery.

The official statement didn't provide details about the reason for surgery but acknowledged the stir it may cause. It read in part, "The Princess of Wales appreciates the interest this statement will generate," adding, "She hopes that the public will understand her desire to maintain as much normality for her children as possible; and her wish that her personal medical information remains private." To protect her privacy, Kensington Palace shared that they would only provide updates for important milestones. Kate conveyed her deepest apologies for being unable to follow through with her previously planned engagements.

After the news broke, concerned royal fans took to X, formerly Twitter, to wish her a speedy recovery. Some had grave concerns for the princess' health because the lengthy hospital stay and long recovery period pointed to a more serious procedure. Others reasoned that a supposed planned surgery would've been worked into her schedule well in advance and wouldn't require cancellations. However, royal fans might get some solace in knowing that the abdominal surgery wasn't Kate's first time going under the knife, and she handled it like a total pro.

Kate Middleton reportedly had surgery to get a lump removed from her head

When Kate Middleton set out on her first solo engagement in 2011, people couldn't help but notice a small scar that runs along the side of her head. Amidst speculation about the story behind the scar, a spokesperson told E! "The scar is related to a childhood operation." In 2013, royal correspondent Katie Nicholl released her biography, "Kate: The Future Queen," and claimed that Kate's scar was the result of a head surgery.

According to Nicholl, Kate noticed a lump on the side of her head while she was at school at Marlborough College. After her mother, Carole, became aware of the situation, she rushed over and made her daughter visit a doctor. The medical professional strongly recommended that she get the lump taken out via surgery, so young Kate went under the knife. Ann Patching, a longtime worker at Marlborough, confirmed to Nicholl that the surgery occurred.

She also shared details from the time: "Catherine had the operation during her term time. She was back at school very soon afterward." She continued. "As usual, nothing was too much of a big deal for her. You could never accuse Catherine of being a drama queen." Kate isn't the only royal with a scar with a story behind it, but some believe she tries to hide her scar with well-positioned hats and hairstyles.

She had to cancel royal engagements because of acute morning sickness

Morning sickness is a common woe for pregnant women, but Kate Middleton had it much worse. The princess suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum through all three of her pregnancies. The condition is believed to cause prolonged vomiting, extreme nausea, and appetite and weight loss. During her first pregnancy, the condition led her to spend a few days at the hospital. She canceled a royal visit to Malta during her second pregnancy in 2014 because the debilitating morning sickness was too much to handle, and the doctors advised her to take it easy.

The press release announcing her third pregnancy also revealed that she couldn't make her royal arrangement for the day because of the illness. While the condition was undoubtedly physically painful for Kate, it also brought mental pain to her nearest and dearest, including her husband, Prince William. When Kate sat down with Giovanna Fletcher for her "Happy Mum Happy Baby" podcast, she shared that William felt powerless as he watched her struggle through the illness because he couldn't do much to ease her ailing.

But like everything else in her life, she soon figured out a way to improve things: hypnobirthing. She explained, "I saw the power of meditation and the deep breathing and things like that, that they teach you in hypnobirthing, when I was really sick, and actually I realized that this was something I could take control of, I suppose, during labor."