New reports have revealed that friends and family of the Princess of Wales were unaware of Kate Middleton’s surgery until the news broke publicly.
Kensington Palace surprised the world last week with the announcement that Kate Middleton was recuperating from abdominal surgery at the London Clinic, a private hospital in Marylebone. Though their original statement noted that the surgery was “planned,” as opposed to a surgical emergency, and palace sources later noted that the condition was “non-cancerous,” they have kept the specifics under wraps out of respect for the Princess of Wales’s privacy.
According to People, the news of Kate Middleton’s surgery also came as a surprise to her “broader circle of family friends,” some of whom saw her as recently as the Christmas holidays, when she gave no indication that anything was wrong. The carefully guarded news hadn’t even made it to staff who work with the royal family.
As for the palace’s statement that Kate will not be returning to public duties until after Easter, one source close to the royal household told the magazine the extended recovery period is a matter of pragmatism. “It is sensible to take the time,” the source said about Kate Middleton’s surgery recovery plan. “That is a great example to the rest of us, as you’re often told to get back to work as soon as possible, which can be damaging.”
William is also taking a break from royal engagements and is focusing on being the primary caregiver to the three children he shares with Kate, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. People reports that William is getting help from the family’s longtime nanny, Maria Borallo, but a close family friend told the magazine that the couple doesn’t have “a huge private staff,” so “as a result, William is really hands-on.”
The friend added it’s a continuation of his overall goals as a parent. “He doesn’t want any mistakes made with the next generation,” they said. “He wants to give them a proper upbringing and lots of love. That is foremost in his mind.”
A palace insider told People that Kate’s parents Carole and Michael Middleton, who live in nearby Berkshire, have also been involved with the children during Kate’s extended hospital stay. “Her parents are an enduring factor in the upbringing of their grandchildren,” the insider said. “And they will be a reassuring presence when she goes back to Windsor to recuperate.”
A royal source told The Sunday Times, that the family is “100 percent family first, day job second.” The newspaper adds that Kensington Palace staffers have been contacting all 30 of Kate’s charities to postpone her various engagements over the next few months. Though Kate has been without a private secretary, the couple’s office is currently being run by William’s private secretary Jean-Christophe Grey and Kate’s assistant private secretary Natalie Burrows, who has stepped up as the couple conducts a search for a CEO.
In Kensington Palace’s original announcement, they noted that Kate might stay at the London Clinic for up to two weeks. An aide told the Times that she will likely do some work from her Windsor home, Adelaide Cottage after her release. “Her passion for the early years is clear,” the aide said. “There will be a huge continuation of that campaign and she will be keen to be out continuing that conversation with the nation as soon as possible.”
Kate’s hospitalization is taking place as her father-in-law King Charles III undergoes treatment for a benign prostate condition. According to The Mirror, this has been an opportunity for a bit of family solidarity for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry who have reached out to their convalescing family members. “The King and the Princess of Wales have received support from Prince Harry and Meghan regarding their health,” a royal source told the tabloid. “The Duke and Duchess contacted both parties in different ways to pass on their concern and best wishes.”
Originally published in Vanityfair.com