Kate Middleton has kept out of the public eye since her January 16 abdominal surgery to avoid worrying fans over her appearance amid health struggles, a source exclusively tells In Touch.

“She couldn’t keep food down and has lost an alarming amount of weight,” the insider says. “She won’t even record a video message to the public to thank them for their well-wishes because the reaction would be massive shock and concern over her appearance.”

The source says that Kate, who was expected to resume public engagements by April, will need “an additional five-plus weeks of recovery” before returning to the public eye. “Just to put it into perspective, this is a woman who poses smiling and radiant on the hospital steps hours after giving birth,” the insider explains. “That’s how grave her situation is right now.”

The palace announced on January 17 that Kate, 42, had “planned abdominal surgery” one day prior. The initial statement confirmed that she would spend 10 to 14 days in the hospital, with no further information given regarding her condition or what the surgery was for.

“The Princess of Wales appreciates the interest this statement will generate,” Kensington Palace’s 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.” The princess and her husband, Prince William, share kids Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5.

Kate was discharged from the hospital on January 29 and went home to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor to recover. At the time, the family confirmed that she was “making good progress” and thanked the medical staff for caring for her amid her hospitalization.

The royal was not seen in public until Monday, March 4. Photographers snapped images of Kate in the front seat of a car that was being driven by her mom, Carole Middleton, near Windsor. She wore sunglasses on the outing and most of her figure was concealed.

With Kate keeping tight-lipped about her condition, fans are growing more and more curious about the specifics of her health struggles. The internet has been flooded with conspiracy theories about what’s really going on behind closed doors. However, a rep for the royals shut down the speculation on February 29.

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

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