Princess Kate’s “Circle of Trust Is Tiny” As She Remains Out of the Public Eye Over Two Months After Announcing Her Cancer Diagnosis

Bit by bit, Kate is resuming parts of normality, like taking part in the occasional school run for her kids.

Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Getty Images)

For most of 2024, the collective world’s thoughts were fixated on the Princess of Wales and her whereabouts and well-being. After a planned abdominal surgery in January, by the end of February, the world seemed to spiral a bit out of control and lose its mind a little bit, only spurred on by what has now come to be known by one word—Photogate—in early March. By the end of the month (March 22, to be exact—approximately one month after the fever pitch surrounding Kate began), Kate released a heartfelt video message announcing that she had been diagnosed with cancer and was receiving treatment for it. In that message, she requested time, space, and privacy to heal, and then, for over two months, has been almost completely absent from the public eye.

Kate Middleton

Kate's last public appearance was on Christmas Day at the church service at Sandringham, seen here.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Kate is seemingly preferring during this time to lean on family—specifically her parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, and also her siblings, Pippa and James—rather than her friends, and said “The circle of trust is tiny,” a source speaking to Tom Sykes of The Daily Beast said. “She has been surrounded by Carole and Michael, and Pippa and James have obviously been there for her as well. They are an incredibly tight family, and Catherine feels absolutely confident relying on them. They have been there for her for decades, and never let her down.”

The Middletons at King Charles' Coronation

Kate's parents and siblings continue to be her closest confidantes outside of her husband.

(Image credit: Getty)

Kate has not only been absent from public duty—the last royal engagement she undertook was the Christmas Day church service at Sandringham alongside the rest of the royal family—but has also preferred to stay put at the family’s four-bedroom home, Adelaide Cottage, in Windsor, or at the family’s country home, Anmer Hall, on the Sandringham Estate when Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis are on break from Lambrook School (as they will be in short order). Fellow parents at Lambrook told The Daily Beast that she hasn’t been seen at the sports matches and other school events that she and Prince William usually attend, but is understood to have done the occasional school run, one parent said, while keeping a low profile.

“There have been rumors she has done dropoff, but I haven’t seen her since the video,” they said. “We all feel very protective of her. Ask anyone at the school—they are amazing parents.”

Prince William and Kate Middleton

William remains a bedrock of support for Kate as she faces down cancer.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Marie Claire reported earlier today that it could be as far out as 2025 until Kate comes back to public duty as she continues to (rightfully so) focus on her health, and, as a source told OK, “While no one is pushing Kate to do anything but recover, she’s still feeling a lot of pressure to get back to her duties and to be even more perfect than before. She’s taking time to heal, but caring for her kids, being a good spouse to William, and her responsibility to her work are weighing heavily on Kate.”

It hasn’t helped the pressure cooker that King Charles—who is also battling cancer, his announced February 5 following a routine prostate procedure the month before—has returned to public duty, his re-entrance to public life happening on April 30. “Kate has guilt that Charles, who’s also battling cancer, is out there doing his part,” they said. (It should also be noted here that the role of the monarch and the role of the Princess of Wales are not the same, and should not be treated as such; the two cannot be compared as apples to apples. As a source speaking to The Daily Mail’s Richard Eden put it, “As Sovereign, His Majesty is in a very different position from the Princess of Wales. There is no need for her to be seen while she’s recovering.”) 

King Charles and Kate Middleton

The King and the Princess of Wales, seen here on Christmas Day 2023, are both battling cancer, but their respective returns to public life should not be compared and considered the same.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

OK reports that “The princess is still undergoing treatment, which is exhausting” but yet “she doesn’t want to delay getting back to work as a royal even more,” feeling she needs “to get back into the swing of things.” But outside of her own health—which remains the priority—“Kate’s first instinct as a mother is to give George, Charlotte, and Louis all her attention, but she’s struggling with trying to do it all.”

In her column for The Daily Mail, royal correspondent Rebecca English wrote that “the princess has been seen out and about more with her family in recent weeks, which will be taken as a positive sign by many.” And, as she recovers, Buckingham Palace has been inundated with “tens of thousands” of get well soon cards and gifts for Kate, and that the Palace’s correspondence team has been “so touched” by the love and affection shown to her. “The sheer volume of correspondence has at times been difficult for the team to cope with,” English wrote. “But staff do aim to reply to all the writers, eventually.” 

Kate Middleton in Cumbria

Kate is clearly beloved by the public, and the amount of correspondence she is receiving as she goes through this health struggle has left Palace staff touched.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

English continued that during “a normal week, the Palace would expect to receive up to 1,000 letters each week from members of the public with various queries or messages of good wishes for individual royals. But what they have experienced since the disclosure of the princess’ health issues has significantly superseded that.”

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.