After "Photogate," Further Details Emerge About When Princess Kate Is Expected to Return to Work

But for now, “She just needs to be left in peace.”

Kate Middleton in winter white at "Together at Christmas" 2023
(Image credit: Getty Images)

After the uproar now known colloquially as “Photogate,” there seem to be more questions than answers when it comes to the Princess of Wales. But one fact we apparently can count on harkens back, really, to what Kensington Palace said from the very first day that we found out Kate had abdominal surgery: she will be back to work right around the Easter holiday, which this year falls on March 31.

On January 17, Kensington Palace released news that Kate had undergone abdominal surgery the day prior and that she was expected to remain in hospital (The London Clinic, to be specific) for about two weeks. True to their word again, Kate was discharged on January 29, just one day shy of two weeks later.

Kate Middleton at a royal engagement

Kate is expected to return to royal engagements inside of a month

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In that same initial statement, it was revealed that Kate would be off duty until Easter and was completely unseen and unheard of in the public eye for the entirety of February. At the end of the month—February 27, to be exact—her husband, Prince William, skipped a memorial service for his godfather, King Constantine of Greece, citing undisclosed personal reasons. After that, the internet was off to the races, conspiracy theories abounded, and, after 70 days out of the public eye, Kate was seen that next Monday, March 4, riding in a car alongside her mother, Carole Middleton, apparently on the school run for Kate’s kids Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. On Sunday—Mother’s Day in the U.K.—Kate released a photo with her kids for the holiday; it was found by multiple news agencies to have been digitally manipulated and was therefore pulled from the agencies’ servers. The next day, Kate apologized and admitted she had done some editing to the photo—and here we are.

But maybe the public can take comfort in that, so far, at least through the written word, the Palace has remained true to what it promised. Tatler reports that Kate is “recovering well and will be back by Easter” after sources said she was “deeply hurt” by the photo controversy. A source speaking to Page Six seconded that Kate was recovering well and would return by Easter, and that “She just needs to be left in peace.”

As speculation about her health begins to merge into bullying, “The rumor mill—particularly on social media—has gotten out of control,” a source told Page Six, adding that Kate is under “an awful lot of scrutiny,” stressing that this can be especially difficult to manage after surgery. 

Kate Middleton opening the V&A Museum in a pink dress

The interest in Kate's health has merged into bullying after Mother's Day on Sunday

(Image credit: Getty)

“We are in danger of bullying a lady who is trying to recover from a very serious operation,” former BBC royal correspondent Jennie Bond told GB News this week, per The Mirror. “I think of how she must be feeling this morning. Absolutely miserable, I think. Her Mother’s Day was obviously ruined by this row.”

From paparazzi photos taken while riding in a car with William on Monday, Bond said “From what we can see, she didn’t look that happy. She must feel under intense pressure now whenever she’s going to be seen in public.” 

Kate Middleton wearing a gift from Prince William

Kate is reportedly recovering well from her abdominal surgery back in January

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A source added, per The Daily Express, “I worry about all this attention on Catherine,” they said. “She did not look happy at all in the car on Monday.”

Though she is absent from the glare of the spotlight and not currently attending royal engagements publicly, Kate is still working behind the scenes as she recovers at home at Adelaide Cottage. “The princess is believed to have been working on her Early Years campaign work while out of the public eye,” Tatler reports.

Sources previously told Vanity Fair that there is “no pressure for her to return to work before she is fully fit,” and clarified that Kate won’t be rushing back into the public eye, intent on recovering fully from her operation. 

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.