Kate Middleton has resurfaced in public for the very first time since having abdominal surgery in January. The Princess of Wales was photographed for the first time in 2024 on Monday, March 4, as she rode in the passenger seat of a vehicle that was driven by her mother, Carole Middleton.

While Kate, 42, wore sunglasses, seemingly trying to keep a low profile, she had a small smile on her face. The photos were taken as she and Carole, 69, drove near Windsor Castle, which is where the senior royal has been recovering following her January 16 procedure. This was the first time Kate was seen publicly since she attended a Christmas Day church service in December 2023.

The sighting comes amid fan concern about Kate’s health and well-being. The internet has been flooded with conspiracy theories about Prince William’s wife’s condition in recent weeks. However, a royal representative shut down speculation that more was going on than the royal family initially revealed.

“Kensington Palace made it clear in January the timelines of the Princess’ recovery and we’d only be providing significant updates,” the rep told In Touch. “That guidance stands.”

The palace didn’t publicly announce that Kate had a “planned abdominal surgery” until January 17, which was one day after the operation. “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 family’s statement also made it clear that Kate would not be divulging much about her condition and said that she wouldn’t return to her public duties until after Easter (March 31).

“The Princess of Wales appreciates the interest this statement will generate,” the statement continued. “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.”

On January 29, Kate was discharged from the hospital and she returned to her and William’s home at Adelaide Cottage in Windsor. The palace confirmed that she was making “good progress” at the time. “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 family’s statement said. “The Wales family continues to be grateful for the well wishes they have received from around the world.”

Amid her recovery, Kate reportedly took a trip to Anmer Hall on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk in February. She was joined by William, 41, and their three children amid a half-term break from school. After the getaway, she returned to Windsor to continue her recovery.

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