What Is Really Going on with Kate Middleton Amid Her Recovery from ‘Abdominal Surgery’?

Chris Jackson/Pool Photo via AP

Kate Middleton has been out of the public eye – save for a grainy paparazzi photo – since her mysterious hospitalization in January for what was described by Kensington Palace at the time as a “planned abdominal surgery.”

After spending nearly two weeks in the hospital, the Princess of Wales has been recuperating at home and will not resume royal duties until Easter at the earliest. Her health concerns came amid King Charles being diagnosed with an undisclosed form of cancer.

On Friday’s show, Megyn was joined by Gareth Russell, author of The Palace, to discuss the secrecy from the Royal Family regarding the princess’ health and the conspiracy theories that have emerged.

What We Know

Princess Kate’s last official public appearance was on Christmas Day. She joined Prince William and their three children – Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis – for their annual family walk to St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, England.

Days later, reports began to surface about the Prince and Princess of Wales’ expected 2024 schedule, including potential trips abroad. On January 9, she privately celebrated her forty-second birthday, and the public saw Prince William make a solo appearance on January 11.

It was not until January 17 that the world learned of Kate’s condition. Kensington Palace released a statement announcing the Princess of Wales had undergone a “planned abdominal surgery” at The London Clinic the previous day. “The surgery was successful, and it is expected that she will remain in hospital for 10 to 14 days, before returning home to continue her recovery,” the statement read. “Based on the current medical advice, she is unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter.”

At the time, the palace also asked for privacy. “The Princess of Wales appreciates the interest this statement will generate,” the statement said. “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.”

Prince William was photographed visiting his wife at the hospital on January 18, and she was later discharged on January 29. “The Princess of Wales has returned home to Windsor to continue her recovery from surgery. She is making good progress,” Kensington Palace said in a statement. “The Prince and Princess wish to say a huge thank you to the entire team at The London Clinic, especially the dedicated nursing staff, for the care they have provided. The Wales family continues to be grateful for the well wishes they have received from around the world.”

The Rumors

It was virtual radio silence from there, which, in and of itself, got the rumor mill turning. 

Flash forward to February 29 and the palace was seemingly forced to issue a rare statement on Kate’s condition after conspiracy theories abounded. Prince William pulled out of attending a memorial service for his godfather, the late King Constantine of Greece, on February 27 at the last minute because of a “personal matter,” which many speculated involved the health of his wife. 

A spokesperson for Kensington Palace reiterated that the princess is “doing well” but failed to provide any further update. “We were very clear from the outset that the Princess of Wales was out until after Easter and Kensington Palace would only be providing updates when something was significant,” the statement said.

In Megyn’s view, the royals have a communications problem. “With every passing day, the conspiracy theories about what happened to her grow, thanks in large part to the Royal Family’s own, I think, mismanagement of the messaging,” she said. “You have to say something. It’s not 1800. We need to know something.”

As Russell explained, Kate was apparently not treated for cancer. “They ruled out cancer,” he said. “It does seem to be in the royal household… that the ‘big C’ is the big thing, and they will be fairly candid about life threatening or terminal conditions. And we’ve seen that with the king talking about his cancer.”

But that has not quelled speculation. Some have wondered if the princess had a hysterectomy or ovarian cyst removed, while others have pondered the possibility of cosmetic surgery. “There are a lot of rumors about what’s wrong with the Princess of Wales and they range from the credible to the outright deranged,” Russell noted. “I think you’re probably right that the royal household could have done more. If you give nothing, someone else will supply that information and they won’t have the basis or good faith that you do.”

At this point, Russell said the palace is damned if they do and damned if they don’t. “It’s a tough one, isn’t it? Because obviously everyone has the right to privacy when they’re recuperating, but, at the same time, she was a very, very public figure,” he said. “The palace… [doesn’t] really know how to get out of this without looking like they’re backing down to social media pressure.”

Easter is but a few weeks away, which means more information may be on the horizon. In the meantime, however, the questions – and conspiracies – remain. “That’s part of the mystery,” Megyn concluded. “What on earth could keep a vibrant, otherwise healthy person in the hospital for what wound up being 13 days?”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Russell by tuning in to episode 742 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.