Royals

The Princess is a priority: How they’re keeping Kate strong

Her courage behind the scenes is spurring her family on
Images: Getty

The Princess of Wales initially hoped to be back at work after Easter following abdominal surgery. Her shock cancer diagnosis then extended her absence from royal duties by at least a few months.

Now it seems a return to official engagements may not happen until next year.

A palace insider says the princess’ schedule is blank for the rest of the year. Usually, organisers plan her schedule months in advance.

“Lots of people involved in planning need to know what all the principals are doing well in advance,” says the source. “I am told that Kate’s diary for this year is empty. She may not appear in public for the rest of the year.”

That suggests the preventative chemotherapy Kate, 42, has been having for an undisclosed type of cancer may be taking more of a toll than expected. Either that, or that it’s going to take her longer to recuperate than previously thought.

Fans are eager for Kate to be back by her family’s side in public.

Her pals had been hopeful that she might be well enough to resume duties by the UK autumn. They told one British publication that a summer of rest could help her to recover from the gruelling treatment. But now it seems likely that she won’t be seen until 2025.

A friend says, “The key for her now is avoiding any kind of stress or anxiety. She just needs to get on with the business of feeling better.”

There was a glimmer of hope that she might be able to resume her duties soon when it was revealed she’d been keeping a close eye from home on a major investigation into the benefits of businesses introducing family-friendly ways of working. The report, released by her Royal Foundation Business Taskforce for Early Childhood, described Kate as the “driving force.” The same report argues that if companies invest in early childhood support for employees, it could generate more than $90 billion for the British economy.

But she has not been working from home on the initiative as such, says a senior aide. Instead, she has read the report and been kept updated. The staffer says early childhood will continue to be her focus when she returns to work. They make the point that she’s not spending a lot of time on it now.

“We have been really clear that she needs the space and privacy to recover right now,” says the aide. “She will return to work when she has the green light from doctors.”

Another sign that resuming duties may be a way off is a decision to put the search for a crucial senior staff member on hold. Last year, Kate and husband Prince William hired a recruitment firm to find someone to be the CEO of their joint offices. The unique position involves being responsible for around 60 staff and reporting directly to William, 41, and Kate, rather than their private secretaries.

Like the princess, King Charles also has Cancer. He is pictured here looking at two dogs made out of sticks
The King checking out the Bridgerton exhibit, including a replica pair of the Queen’s Jack Russells Bluebell and Beth.

At the time, it was reported as a revolutionary move. But now the recruiting process has been suspended. That’s down to a decision to leave important matters like hiring key staff until Kate is better.

“No one wants to put any pressure on Catherine,” says the insider. “The only thing that matters at the moment is her getting better. She has been through an ordeal this year.

“What this means in practice is that big decisions, such as the appointment of new staff, can wait.”

The source adds, “It’s a reflection of Her Royal Highness’ importance to the future of the monarchy that she has been given as much time as she needs.”

Kate has copped some flak for staying out of sight while her father-in-law, the King, 75, has returned to public duties while having treatment for his also-undisclosed type of cancer.

But the insider says it’s wrong to compare the two. They point out that the King felt it was important for him to be seen as much as possible by the public, even though he is still having medical treatment.

“As sovereign, His Majesty is in a very different position from the Princess of Wales,” explains the source. “There’s no need for her to be seen while she’s recovering.”

Related stories


Get NZ Woman’s Weekly home delivered!  

Subscribe and save up to 29% on a magazine subscription.