London — Catherine, the Princess of Wales, or Kate, as she’s known to most of the world, was back at her home in Windsor, England on Monday and “making good progress” in her, Kensington Palace said in a statement. The nature of the future queen’s medical procedure has not been revealed, but the palace announced on Jan. 17 that she was having surgery and that she would likely remain in the hospital for 10 to 14 days.
The statement issued by the palace, the official residence of Kate and her husband William, the Prince of Wales, said the couple wished to thank the staff of the private London clinic where the procedure was carried out and well-wishers from around the world.
At their most recent public outing, attending the annual Christmas Day church service in Sandringham, England, Britain’s King Charles III and his daughter-in-law Kate were the picture of health. So, twin announcements more than a week ago that the future queen was alreadyand the monarch was for an enlarged prostate came as a bit of a shock.
King Charles was admitted on Friday for his procedure and remained in the hospital Monday, having been visited several times over the weekend by Queen Camilla.
“More human than what they used to project”
The palace initially announced that Kate was recovering from what it called a planned abdominal surgery. It said Kate would spend up to two weeks at the clinic where she had the procedure, and then up to several months recuperating at home in Windsor, making it unlikely she will return to public duties until after Easter at the end of March.
The palace stressed that her surgery was not cancer related, but it has provided no further detail, noting that Kate is eager to maintain her privacy.
The royal family has a history of closely guarding, or at least attempting to closely guard its most personal information, and some Brits welcomed them acknowledging their health issues at all.
“I think it certainly shows that they’re more human than what they used to project to the public,” one Londoner told CBS News.
But given 42-year-old Kate’s relatively young age and general good health, the limited detail provided by the royals about such a senior family member’s hospitalization may have surprised or concerned some people. One veteran royal watcher and biographer told CBS News it was par for the course, however.
“Protecting those three children”
The palace’s statements reflected the fact that the princess “has always put herself as a mother first, and she doesn’t want her children to be exposed to any kind of speculation or intrusion,” CBS News royal contributor Amanda Foreman said, adding that it was worded “100% with a mind to protecting those three children.”
Prince William, next in line to inherit the British throne, has also temporarily stepped back from his royal duties to be at the princess’ side and to help care for their children, Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5, Kensington Palace said.
“The tradition has always been to err on the side of caution, and in particular with the royal family, as we know there were instances in the young princes’ growing up where they were incredibly scarred by,” the late Princess Diana, Foreman told CBS News. “So, that mindfulness is why they have gone in this direction.”
“An incredibly busy time for the princess”
Kate frequently polls as one of the most popular members of the royal family. Since the death of Queen Elizabeth II, and in the wake of her brother and sister-in-law Harry and Meghan’s sensational exit from royal life, she has increasingly undertaken public engagements on her own.
Foreman said Kate was being sidelined from those royal duties at “an incredibly busy time for the Princess of Wales,” noting the looming landmark dates on the Christian calendar around Easter.
“There’s a lot that goes on around now, and the royal family plays a big role in that, and as an ambassador for mental health and for children, the big thing is that she has a very physical role — she’s always standing up, sitting down, kneeling, picking up, and that’s where she has to be particularly careful,” Foreman said.
The length of Kate’s expected recovery time “is very significant,” noted Foreman, “but don’t forget there are procedures that can require very long recovery times — for example, a hysterectomy can take weeks to recover — and it doesn’t mean it’s a life-threatening situation by any means.”
“There are lots of procedures people don’t want to have discussed. It is personal to them,” noted the author. “So, this makes a lot of sense within the framework of what we’re hearing.”