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Kate leaves hospital to recover at home after abdominal surgery

The Princess of Wales has left hospital and is recovering at home after undergoing abdominal surgery (Aaron Chown/PA)
The Princess of Wales has left hospital and is recovering at home after undergoing abdominal surgery (Aaron Chown/PA)

The Princess of Wales has left hospital and returned to her home in Windsor almost two weeks after undergoing major abdominal surgery, Kensington Palace has said.

She was admitted to the London Clinic – the same private hospital where the King has undergone treatment for an enlarged prostate – for a planned operation on January 16.

The 42-year-old future Queen is not expected to return to official duties until after Easter, and the Prince of Wales has temporarily stepped back from his royal role to juggle caring for her and their children.

A Kensington Palace spokesperson said: “The Princess of Wales has returned home to Windsor to continue her recovery from surgery. She is making good progress.

“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.”

Duchess of Cambridge visits Scouts
Kate is likely to be given sitting and standing exercises as she recovers (PA)

Kate left the London Clinic earlier on Monday and it is understood her return to official duties will depend on medical advice nearer the time.

Once the princess’s care and recovery has settled, the Prince of Wales plans to resume his public engagements.

Royals first day at new school
The Waleses with their children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, on their first day at Lambrook School in September 2022 (PA)

Charles, 75, visited his daughter-in-law’s bedside after being admitted himself on Friday January 26, on the 11th day of Kate’s stay.

The exact details of the princess’s condition have not been revealed but the Palace said previously it was not cancer-related and that Kate wished her personal medical information to remain private.

News of the princess’s surgery was announced by Kensington Palace on January 17, with Buckingham Palace triggering a double royal health scare 90 minutes later when it revealed the King was to be treated in hospital for an enlarged prostate.

Heir to the throne William, who has spent time at his wife’s bedside, has been looking after Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, with all his official duties on hold.

A royal source told the Sunday Times the Waleses have switched to “100% family first, day job second”.

Royal year 2023
Prince George, the Princess of Wales, Prince Louis, the Prince of Wales, Princess Charlotte and the King and Queen after Trooping the Colour in 2023 (PA)

Kate will be under the careful watch of royal doctors and also benefit 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.

But this will be quicker if the procedure was keyhole surgery.

Patients who have major abdominal surgery are urged to avoid lifting anything heavier than the weight of a full kettle – around 4.4lb-6.6lb (2kg-3kg).

Princess Charlotte christening
The then-duke and duchess of Cambridge with Prince George and the then-Queen and nanny Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo in 2015 (PA)

It can also take two years for the strength of the abdominal wall to return to its previous condition.

Sitting and standing exercises are recommended to build strength, with an aim of walking gradually each day, increasing distance to reach 30 minutes daily within two to three months.

The family live in 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 expected to be hands-on in helping the Waleses navigate the next few months as the princess recovers.

Downing Street welcomed Kate’s discharge from hospital, with the Prime Minister official spokesman telling reporters at a Westminster briefing as the news broke: “That would be welcome news both to the royal family and I’m sure to the public more widely.”

British Academy Film Awards – London
William and Kate at the British Academy Film Awards (Bafta) in 2019 (Tim Ireland/PA)

Among the engagements the princess will miss over the coming weeks are the Baftas in February, the annual Commonwealth Day service in Westminster Abbey, and the St David’s Day Parade at the start of March, as well as the St Patrick’s Day parade with the military later the same month.

Aides insist the princess will be out of sight over the next few months but is likely to be working behind the scenes on her early years projects.

Official overseas tours for William and Kate are also off the table for the time being.

Kate chose the London Clinic for her care, rather than King Edward VII’s Hospital which is usually the go-to institution for the royal family.

The exclusive, state-of-the art clinic in Marylebone, which was opened in 1932 by a group of Harley Street doctors, is one of the UK’s largest private hospitals.

Past patients have included Prince Philip, the late Duke of Edinburgh, as well as Princess Margaret, US president John F Kennedy, and actress Elizabeth Taylor after she fell on a film set in the 1960s.

Philip was treated at the clinic for exploratory abdominal surgery in 2013.