It was a long 13 days for Catherine, Duchess of Wales. Following abdominal surgery for an undisclosed cause, the 42-year-old recovered at the posh London Clinic. While her husband, Prince William, popped by for a visit — as did her father-in-law King Charles III, who was at the same facility to treat an enlarged prostate — her children Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and 5-year-old Prince Louis were not allowed. “For the safety of our patients, we do not permit any children or babies to visit,” the clinic advises, noting that special requests “must be approved by the matrons.”

So it was especially sweet when Kate was released on January 29 and allowed to return to Adelaide Cottage, on the grounds of Windsor Castle, where she will continue to recover before returning to royal duties after Easter. “For Kate, it’s good to be home in her own bed, surrounded by her family and other familiar things,” an insider exclusively tells In Touch. “Though everyone at the hospital was amazing and made sure she had the best care.”

Getting Better

Speculation about Kate’s condition has been rampant ever since Kensington Palace’s January 17 statement that the princess had undergone “planned” surgery the day before. Royal watchers posited she’d had everything from a tummy tuck (unlikely) to a hysterectomy or even laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication, a procedure to repair damage caused by her severe morning sickness during her three pregnancies (as well as from a rumored eating disorder, some said).

“Kate’s being very guarded about her condition,” says the insider. “She and William are aware of the speculation, it’s to be expected when you’re a royal.” The official statement was equally vague, only that Kate “is making good progress.” Still, it’s clear that she’s facing a long recovery. “She won’t be able to move around freely and no heavy lifting,” says the insider. “That’s been the hardest part. Kate isn’t one to stay still.” Neither are her kids, who have to be reminded to be gentle with the patient. “William tells them not to be too boisterous and loud,” says the insider. “Louis forgets sometimes that she shouldn’t be jostled.”

Home Sweet Home

While she rests, William has been picking up the slack. Working with the couple’s long-term nanny, Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo, the 41-year-old, who has stepped back from royal duties to tend to his wife, has been doing school drop-offs and pickups and putting in time in the kitchen. “He’s quite good at it too. He’s whipping up oatmeal and smoothies and roast chicken,” says the insider. “He even made Kate’s favorite curry.” Between that and helping with homework, he’s been busy, says the insider. “William has a new appreciation for everything that Kate does.”

And while the time-out started with a medical scare, it’s made William and Kate appreciate being able to hunker down at home with the kids. The insider says it makes them think of the beginning of their marriage when they lived quietly on Anglesey in Wales with their firstborn. “Being home like this reminds William and Kate of earlier days when things were simpler and they didn’t have such busy schedules,” adds the insider. Yet duty calls: “The focus right now is for Kate to get well so she can be back on her feet and return to royal duties.”

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