Why has William been dragged into speculation over Kate’s health?

UK

Speculation about the Princess of Wales’s health has circulated online since Prince William pulled out of his godfather’s memorial due to a “personal matter”.

Kate was admitted to hospital for “planned abdominal surgery” exactly a week after her 42nd birthday in January.

Kensington Palace later confirmed the surgery was successful and she would be taking time to recover at home in Windsor.

But amid concerns for her father-in-law’s health following his cancer diagnosis, and the lack of explanation when William said he would not attend the memorial, speculation about the Princess of Wales’s health has been widespread.

When did she have surgery?

The princess was admitted to the London Clinic, a private hospital in Marylebone, on 16 January.

The following day, Kensington Palace confirmed the procedure was successful, estimating she would remain in hospital for 10 to 14 days.

More on Princess Of Wales

On 29 January it was announced she was discharged and went home to Windsor.

Pic: AP
Journalists wait outside the London Clinic in central London where Britain's King Charles III is being treated for an enlarged prostate in London, Monday, Jan. 29, 2024.(AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
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Journalists outside the London Clinic. Pic: AP

At the time, Sky News understood that her recuperation would likely take between two and three months.

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A palace statement said: “Based on the current medical advice, she is unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter.

“The Princess of Wales appreciates the interest this statement will generate. 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.

“Kensington Palace will, therefore, only provide updates on Her Royal Highness’ progress when there is significant new information to share.”

William’s ‘personal matter’

Prince William was due to attend a memorial for his godfather, the late King Constantine of Greece, at Windsor Castle on 27 February.

The King did not attend due to his ongoing treatment, but William was expected with other members of the family until an hour beforehand.

The palace issued a statement to say the prince would not attend due to a “personal matter” – but did not elaborate.

Prince William with members of the Jewish community in London on 29 February. Pic: PA
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Prince William visiting members of the Jewish community in London on 29 February. Pic: PA

Anticipating speculation, it did add that Kate is “recovering and continues to be doing well”.

According to Sky royal correspondent Rhiannon Mills, the prince’s “decision and lack of explanation for it has exposed how high-risk their strategy of keeping quiet is” – and has resulted in a “vacuum of information… rumour and speculation”.

“The voracious appetite for news about the princess hasn’t been helped by the perception that the King is being much more open about his cancer diagnosis,” Mills said.

Pic: Andrew Matthews/PA 
Prince Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece, Prince of Denmark RE, and Marie-Chantal, Crown Princess of Greece, Princess of Denmark (both front) and Prince Philippos of Greece and Denmark (fifth right) attend a thanksgiving service for the life of King Constantine of the Hellenes at St George's Chapel, in Windsor Castle, Berkshire. Picture date: Tuesday February 27, 2024. PA Photo. Constantine II, who died on January 10, 2023 was the last King of Greece, reigning from 1964 to
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Members of the Greek and Danish royal family in Windsor for the memorial for the late King Constantine. Pic: PA

Royal experts have said comparisons between the King and the Princess of Wales are unfair – as the former is the reigning monarch with far greater responsibilities and public interest.

But it has not stopped conspiracy theorists speculating about alternative scenarios to the one stated by the palace.

(left to right) The Princess of Wales, Princess Charlotte, Prince George, the Prince of Wales, Prince Louis and Mia Tindall  attending the Christmas Day morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk. Picture date: Monday December 25, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story ROYAL Sandringham. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
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The Wales’s at Sandringham on Christmas Day. Pic: PA

When might we see her again?

Kate has not been seen in public since the Christmas Day church service at Sandringham.

Kensington Palace said the princess would not be returning to public duties before Easter Sunday, which this year falls on 31 March.

In recent years, William and Kate have attended church services on Easter Sunday in Windsor with their children.

Regardless, all eyes will still be on William, who is due to attend Commonwealth Day celebrations on 11 March.

The original indication of two to three months’ recovery, would mean a return somewhere between 16 March and 16 April.

Separately, Queen Camilla is taking the week off royal duties ahead of Commonwealth Day as she had no planned commitments.

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