April 21, 2024

Where is Kate Middleton, and why such fascination with her health?

LONDON — She’s been known to kick a soccer ball while wearing a gown and wedges. She’s played doubles with British tennis star Emma Raducanu, crewed in the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix and raced her husband, Prince William, on spin bikes.

It’s perhaps partly because Catherine, the Princess of Wales, has so often been the very picture of health and fitness that her health-related absence from public life has stirred so much commentary in Britain and beyond this week.

Catherine, 42, had a planned abdominal surgery last month and stayed in a London hospital for nearly two weeks before leaving to recuperate at home in Windsor. Kensington Palace said from the outset that officials wouldn’t be providing play-by-plays on her health unless there was something significant to report, and that she wouldn’t be resuming public appearances until after Easter. That’s still a month from now.

Catherine, Princess of Wales, leaves the hospital after abdominal surgery

But that hasn’t stopped people from ruminating on her health status and her whereabouts, with the internet erupting with conspiracy theories and absurd memes. “Where is Kate Middleton?” — with her maiden name — emerged as a breakout search on Google. Some people have playfully suggested that she’s waiting for her bangs to grow out. Others reported that she had been spotted at the Willy Wonka experience in Glasgow, Scotland.

The princess was last seen in public Dec. 25, at a Christmas Day church service.

Speculation spread on social media after William unexpectedly pulled out of attending the memorial service for the late King Constantine of Greece on Tuesday. He had been scheduled to give a reading but canceled at the last minute due to what Kensington Palace called a “personal matter.”

The palace did not elaborate, and William has since returned to work. He glancingly referenced his wife in a public appearance Thursday during a visit to the Western Marble Arch Synagogue in central London. “Both Catherine and I are extremely concerned about the rise of antisemitism,” William said in a discussion.

‘Dreadful’ Wonka-themed children’s event leads some guests to call police

A spokesman for the couple told The Washington Post on Thursday that “Kensington Palace made it clear in January the timelines of the princess’ recovery and we’d only be providing significant updates. That guidance stands.”

The spokesman reiterated comments made earlier in the week, saying that Catherine was “doing well.”

Addressing some of the most wild speculation, that the princess was in a coma, the spokesman said such rumors were “inaccurate and false.”

Health has been central to Catherine’s image. On the royal family website, she is described as a “keen sportswoman” who “strongly believes that physical health not only complements mental health, but also has the power to engage, educate and inspire and change lives for the better.” Many of her public appearances are health- or sports-related. She is the patron of several sporting bodies, including English rugby and the All England Club. And she often watches Wimbledon from the royal box.

Yes, Duchess Kate looked flawless after giving birth. No, this isn’t normal.

After Catherine gave birth to her third child in 2018, she made headlines for how put together she looked leaving the hospital, with camera-ready hair and makeup.

But she has also shared her health struggles, including experiencing an extreme type of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum during all three of her pregnancies. People at the time said they were thankful that she acknowledged that pregnancy isn’t always easy.

This time, the palace has reverted to type, handing out only morsels of information. Royal officials have been even less forthcoming on Catherine’s health than that of King Charles III, who is receiving treatment for cancer.

King Charles III diagnosed with cancer, postpones public duties

“The Princess of Wales appreciates the interest this statement will generate,” Kensington Palace said when announcing her abdominal surgery last month. “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.”

Chery reported from Washington.

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