How Is Princess Kate Doing, Really? According to a Royal Expert, She’s “Recovering Well But Is Not Quite 100 Percent”

“She doesn’t want to rush things.”

Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Getty)

At long last, after 70 days and endless social media speculation, the public finally saw a glimpse of the Princess of Wales on Monday, riding in the passenger seat of a car driven by her mother, Carole Middleton, apparently doing the school run for Kate’s three kids Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.

Beneath her sunglasses and competing with the grainy photo quality, it was difficult to get a full read on how healthy Kate looked following her abdominal surgery on January 16; Kensington Palace released a statement the next day confirming the surgery—which came as a shock to even those close to her—and revealing that the public shouldn’t expect to see her until April. (Monday’s sighting was a very happy surprise.) 

Kate Middleton on Christmas Day 2023

Prior to Monday's unexpected sighting while on the school run, the last time Kate had been seen in public was on Christmas Day 2023, pictured here

(Image credit: Getty Images)

To that end, royal expert Robert Jobson—whose latest book, called Catherine, The Princess of Wales, is due out this summer—told Hello “From what I hear, Kate has got into a routine again and is functioning well, but she doesn’t want to rush things,” he said. “I have spoken to people close to her, and I think she is recovering well, but is not quite 100 percent.”

And how about King Charles, who is currently receiving treatments for a still undisclosed type of cancer, found during a routine corrective prostate procedure in late January? “The King was looking to make the royal family more focused on the main four [himself, Queen Camilla, and the Prince and Princess of Wales], and having two of the star people out of the picture makes that more difficult,” Jobson said. “So I’m sure she [Kate] will be welcomed back with open arms when she’s well enough to return to duties.”

For the first time in years, Kate’s convalescence has allowed her to be a full-time mom, solely focused on George, Charlotte, and Louis with no competition from ever-present royal duties.

Kate Middleton, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis

As she recovers, Kate has gotten extra quality time with her three kids George, Charlotte, and Louis

(Image credit: Matt Porteous/Prince and Princess of Wales)

“Kate may not have been on the school run or at sports matches, but she has been able to spend plenty of time with her children at home over the past few weeks, and they will have been such a tonic for her,” said Hello’s royal editor Emily Nash. “Her family are absolutely at the center of her world, so being able to have George, Charlotte, and Louis at home with her has no doubt really boosted her spirits.”

Though it’s still unconfirmed exactly when we can expect Kate’s return to royal duty, she has recently hired a new private secretary, Afghanistan veteran Lieutenant Colonel Tom White (a former equerry to the late Queen Elizabeth), and his appointment will no doubt make work at least somewhat on her mind. “The arrival of Tom means the princess is likely to be thinking about her eventual return to work and future plans,” a source told Hello

Lieutenant Colonel Tom White

Kate's new private secretary Lieutenant Colonel Tom White was previously an equerry to Queen Elizabeth

(Image credit: Getty Images)

As to her return—whenever that may be—Jobson said of Kate that “She must be looking forward to that, but she also feels lucky to be able to have this time with the children and to put her recovery first.”

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.