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Kensington Palace puts Princess Kate social media theories to rest amid her absence from the public eye

After speculation about why Princess Kate hasn't been seen in public for nearly two months reaches a fever pitch, Kensington Palace is stepping in to squash the theories.

Catherine, Princess of Wales, is "doing well," a spokesperson for the royal told People and ABC News in a statement Thursday. "We were very clear from the outset that the Princess of Wales was out until after Easter and Kensington Palace would only be providing updates when something was significant," the statement continued.

USA TODAY has reached out to Kensington Palace for comment.

Kate, 42, has remained out of the public eye since the holiday season. Her last formal engagement saw her stepping out for a Christmas Day service at Sandringham's St Mary Magdalene Church with her husband, Prince William, their three children – Princess Charlotte, Prince George and Prince Louis – King Charles, Queen Camilla and other members of the royal family.

Princess Kate's last public engagement was a Christmas Day service in Sandringham. She is pictured here with Princess Charlotte, Prince George, Prince William, Prince Louis and Mia Tindall.
Princess Kate's last public engagement was a Christmas Day service in Sandringham. She is pictured here with Princess Charlotte, Prince George, Prince William, Prince Louis and Mia Tindall.

Princess Kate undergoes 'successful' abdominal surgery

On Jan. 17, Kensington Palace announced she had undergone a "successful" abdominal surgery on Jan. 16 and was expected to remain hospitalized for 10 to 14 days.

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"Based on the current medical advice, she is unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter," the statement read. "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. Kensington Palace will, therefore, only provide updates on Her Royal Highness’ progress when there is significant new information to share."

Less than two weeks later, the palace announced on Jan. 29 that Kate had returned home to Windsor to continue her recovery and was "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 statement continued. "The Wales family continues to be grateful for the well wishes they have received from around the world."

We asked the experts: Prince William and Camilla are taking on more duties amid the king's absence. Is it sustainable?

Social media goes wild with Princess Kate theories

Kensington Palace broke its silence on Princess Kate's well-being and whereabouts as social media users went wild speculating that something had happened to the woman who's married to England's future king.

The wave of posts and memes seemingly coincided with Prince William backing out of a memorial service for his godfather, the late King Constantine of Greece, due to personal matters. While some theories were posited in jest, others appeared to be shared in earnest.

Queen Camilla, King Charles III, Prince William and Kate, Princess of Wales, pose for a photograph ahead of the Diplomatic Reception in the 1844 Room at Buckingham Palace in London on Dec. 5, 2023.
Queen Camilla, King Charles III, Prince William and Kate, Princess of Wales, pose for a photograph ahead of the Diplomatic Reception in the 1844 Room at Buckingham Palace in London on Dec. 5, 2023.

"How are we all expected to 'work' when we don’t even know where Kate Middleton is," @sbstryker posted on X, formerly Twitter, on Tuesday.

There were jokes about Kate getting bangs (and regretting it); entering the princess protection program (a reference to a 2009 Disney film starring Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato); experiencing a "Freaky Friday" situation with her father-in-law, King Charles; and donating her kidney to the monarch.

Amid a vacuum of information about the princess, it's become clear that fans of the royals and social media spectators alike are just looking for answers. However, experts have emphasized in recent interviews with USA TODAY that it's important for people in the limelight to establish boundaries.

If celebrities "want to keep their crisis private, it's important to respect that," psychotherapist Amy Morin previously told USA TODAY. "They may need space to process their feelings without outside opinions. They may also be trying to respect the privacy of a loved one by not sharing details."

Amid Princess Kate's health issues, King Charles diagnosed with cancer

She wasn't the only senior member of the royal family to face health issues recently.

King Charles III, who revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer earlier this month, was also discharged from the private hospital where he and Kate were receiving treatment the same day she returned home.

Upon resuming his royal duties on Feb. 7, Prince William expressed his gratitude to attendees of a London gala.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you for the kind messages of support for Catherine and for my father, especially in recent days," William said at a gala dinner for London's Air Ambulance Charity. "It means a great deal to us all."

Princess Kate's surgery ignites gossip: Here's why you should mind your business

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Princess Kate rumors denied by Kensington Palace amid 2-month absence