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‘What a treat to see her!’ Royal watchers share joy as Princess of Wales is seen in public for first time since her op in school run photos published in US – silencing conspiracy theorists and showing her recovery is progressing


Royal watchers have shared their joy after the Princess of Wales was seen in public for the first time since her operation in school run photos published in the US. 

Kate, who has taken a step back from the spotlight while recovering from abdominal surgery, was seen being driven by her mother Caroline near Windsor. 

It is the first time the princess has been spotted in public since she celebrated Christmas at Sandringham with Prince William, their children and the rest of the Royal Family. 

Delighted at her first public appearance, one royal fan wrote on social media platform X: ‘What a treat to see her.’ 

Another said: ‘Wonderful to see her out and about getting some fresh air. Hope she takes it easy. Her health comes first and foremost.’ A third added: ‘With her lovely mum as well.’ 

The Princess of Wales has not been pictured since she attended the Christmas Day church service at Sandringham

The Princess of Wales has not been pictured since she attended the Christmas Day church service at Sandringham 

Princess Kate attended the service with Prince William and their children George, Charlotte and Louis

Princess Kate attended the service with Prince William and their children George, Charlotte and Louis

The pictures were published by US gossip website TMZ but not in the UK after Kensington Palace appealed for her to be able to recuperate in private. 

Kate was pictured wearing sunglasses in the passenger seat of a 4×4 Audi, which her mother Carole Middleton was driving near Windsor Castle. The photos were taken shortly before 9am, suggesting the mother and daughter were returning from the school run.

It comes after it was claimed last night that Kate’s ‘black sheep’ uncle Gary Goldsmith, Carole’s brother, was scolded by the princess’s parents after signing up to Celebrity Big Brother amid fears he could spill secrets about the Royal Family.

On January 17, Kensington Palace announced that Kate had been admitted to The London Clinic the previous day for ‘planned abdominal surgery’.

It said the operation had been successful but would result in a two-week stay in hospital before a lengthy period of recuperation at her Windsor home.

They added that based on the current medical advice she was unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter.

A spokesman stated that it was Kate’s personal wish to keep her personal medical information private and said it would only provide an update if there were ‘significant new information to share’.

However their clear statement has failed to stop social media and overseas websites – from the New York Times to Vogue – speculating wildly about the princess’s whereabouts and what may have happened to her. The hashtag #whereiskatemiddleton has been trending daily.

Even the BBC website tackled the issue, highlighting the outlandish speculation under the title: ‘Royal dilemma as public curiosity over Kate’s health grows’.

Some of it has been farcical: such as the internet rumour she is recuperating from a ‘Brazilian bum lift’ or in a coma, a theory sparked by a journalist on Spanish television.

Other trolls and conspiracy theorists have used her absence and the lawlessness of social media to spread deeply sinister and highly libellous claims.

Kensington Palace did not comment tonight but sources stressed these were paparazzi pictures that were not authorised by the palace. 

Last week a spokesman re-iterated their advice that they were not going to provide a ‘running commentary’ on the princess’ health, no matter how much they were provoked by nasty internet rumours.

‘From our perspective, we were very clear from our statement at the start of this in January that the Princess of Wales planned to be out of public action until after Easter and that hasn’t changed,’ they said.

‘We were always clear we wouldn’t be providing updates when there wasn’t anything new to share. The last thing anyone wants is a running commentary of the Princess of Wales’ recovery. Nothing has changed from that approach in January.’

William also thanked Welsh schoolchildren for giving him a bouquet of flowers for Kate last week

William also thanked Welsh schoolchildren for giving him a bouquet of flowers for Kate last week

Kate left hospital on January 29 and returned to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor to be reunited with her children almost two weeks after having the surgery. Pictured: Kate and William in September 2022

Kate left hospital on January 29 and returned to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor to be reunited with her children almost two weeks after having the surgery. Pictured: Kate and William in September 2022 

Officials have said  that the Princess of Wales (pictured on December 5) continues to do 'well'. Kate plans to return to royal engagements after Easter

Officials have said  that the Princess of Wales (pictured on December 5) continues to do ‘well’. Kate plans to return to royal engagements after Easter

Kate left hospital on January 29 and returned to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor to be reunited with her children almost two weeks after having the surgery.

William temporarily stepped back from his royal role to juggle caring for her and their children, but carried out engagements in Wrexham and at a synagogue in London last week. 

While in Wrexham, the Prince of Wales was asked ‘William, how’s Catherine?’

William did not respond to the question while walking into Wrexham AFC’s Racecourse Ground during a trip to mark St David’s Day last Friday. 

As he made his way into the stadium, the heir to the throne was asked by another fan ‘Can I get a selfie please?’ – but said: ‘Can I say hello to the team? I’ll come back.’

He also thanked Welsh schoolchildren for giving him a bouquet of flowers for Kate. 

Last Tuesday, William pulled out of a memorial service for the late King Constantine of Greece at Windsor Castle due to an unspecified ‘personal matter’.

Meanwhile last month, he thanked the public for their ‘kind messages of support’ as he spoke at an event in London about Kate and the King’s cancer diagnosis.

William’s words of praise, delivered during a fundraising dinner, recognised those who wished Kate well. He told the guests: ‘It means a great deal to us all.’

Kate is currently under the careful watch of royal doctors and is benefiting from the London Clinic’s aftercare, with dedicated physiotherapists on hand with a personalised plan and a video check-up at home with a nurse specialist on offer.

NHS advice about recovering from abdominal surgery says that, after a major operation with a large incision, it takes two to three months to be able to move around comfortably.

William at the Baftas in London on February 18 before suddenly pulling out of the memorial for his late godfather King Constantine of Greece for an unspecified 'personal reason'

William at the Baftas in London on February 18 before suddenly pulling out of the memorial for his late godfather King Constantine of Greece for an unspecified ‘personal reason’

The King has been seen at Sandringham going to church each Sunday but public duties have been paused

The King has been seen at Sandringham going to church each Sunday but public duties have been paused

The family live at Adelaide Cottage in Windsor’s Home Park and are being supported by their staff, including loyal, long-standing nanny Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo.

Kate’s parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, and siblings, Pippa Matthews and James Middleton, are also thought to be hands-on at the moment in helping the Waleses navigate this period as the princess recovers.

Last night, sources told The Sun that Carole was furious at her brother Gary Goldsmith, Kate’s uncle, over his rumoured appearance on Celebrity Big Brother which returns to our screens tonight.

An insider said: ‘Gary said he’s been read the riot act by Kate’s mum Carole and her dad Michael.

‘They aren’t happy he’s going into Celebrity Big Brother. It is infuriating to them. Kate doesn’t need this stress.’

In Charles’s absence from public duties, Camilla has become the most senior royal performing engagements – and led the Royal Family at the service for King Constantine last week.

This year has seen a sudden shortage of frontline royals after Charles and Kate both went into hospital around the same time.

And the family’s health woes have left William shouldering more of the burden of public duties while at the same time supporting Kate and helping care for their children.

Charles was admitted for surgery for a benign prostate condition, but subsequently diagnosed with an unrelated cancer. The monarch has withdrawn from public-facing duties while he undergoes treatment.



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