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Kate Middleton May Publicly Address The Controversy Over Her Prolonged Absence, Friends Say

 Catherine, Princess of Wales attends the Christmas Morning Service at Sandringham Church on December 25, 2023 in Sandringham, Norfolk.
Catherine, Princess of Wales attends the Christmas Morning Service at Sandringham Church on December 25, 2023 in Sandringham, Norfolk.

As online speculation surrounding Kate Middleton's health, whereabouts and general wellbeing continues to hit a fever pitch, the Princess of Wales is reportedly considering addressing the public in an attempt to put the rumors and conspiracy theories to rest.

“They are at their most open when out interacting with members of the public and I can see a world in which the princess might discuss her recovery out on engagements," a source close to the royals recently told The Sunday Times. "If she was going to do it, that’s how she would do it.”

An unnamed friend of Kate and husband Prince William told the same outlet that the pair "want to be clear and more open," before adding that "they'll do it when they feel ready."

“I would expect that to be her instinct and it will be her call," the friend continued. "They’re not going to be rushed.”

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Concern about Middleton's health, wellness, and marriage has hit an unprecedented level after Kensington Palace announced she had underwent "planned" abdominal surgery in January, 2024.

"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 palace said in a written statement, adding that Princess Kate would not return to public duties until after Easter.

"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 Mother's Day in the UK, Kensington Palace released what it claimed to be the first official photo of the Princess of Wales following her hospitalization. Shortly after, major news publications like the Associated Press pulled the photo and issued a "kill alert" after it was found to have been digitally altered.

The palace has refused to release the original image.

Catherine, Princess of Wales attends the Christmas Morning Service at Sandringham Church on December 25, 2023 in Sandringham, Norfolk.
Catherine, Princess of Wales attends the Christmas Morning Service at Sandringham Church on December 25, 2023 in Sandringham, Norfolk.

As a result, online speculation and conspiracy theories regarding Kate's health, marriage and whereabouts have percolated every corner of the internet, prompting the likes of Stephen Colbert, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, and King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands to weigh in on the controversy.

After the image was found to be digitally altered, Kensington Palace issued a statement admitting that it had been photoshopped and, un an unparalleled moved, apologized for the confusion.

"Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing," the statement, said to be from the Princess of Wales, said. "I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused. I hope everyone celebrating had a very happy Mother’s Day. C."

As the criticism continues to mount, Princess Kate is reportedly “deeply upset” over the Mother’s Day photo scandal, the Tatler reports.

A Palace source told The Telegraph that Kate was only trying to make the picture the “best it could be” when she allegedly doctored the image. And according to a friend of Kate's who spoke to The Mirror, the image was supposed to be an “innocent family photograph.”