Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton was last seen in public on Dec. 25 in Sandringham prior to her abdominal surgery on Jan. 16, 2024 at The London Clinic. Oli Scarff/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Kate Middleton has not been seen in public since the new year began and her absence is noted after Kensington Palace announced that she underwent a "planned abdominal surgery" at The London Clinic on Tuesday, Jan. 16.

The Princess of Wales was last seen with her husband, Prince William, and their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, as they stepped out for the annual Christmas Day walk to St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in Norfolk. They attended the service along with the other royal family members. After which, they stepped out to greet the well-wishers who had gathered outside to see them.

Kate Middleton appeared to be in good spirits during the walk to and from the church. She smiled and waved at the people and accepted gifts of flowers.

The following week, neither she nor Prince William were seen in public as they continued spending time with their family privately for Christmas. The 42-year-old also spent her birthday on Jan. 9 privately.

On the other hand, the Prince of Wales kicked off his first public engagement for 2024 with a visit to Headlingley Stadium in Leeds to met Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield. He handed them their CBEs for their dedication to raising awareness of Motor Neurone Disease (MND), of which Burrow was diagnosed in 2019.

Meanwhile, Kate Middleton's last royal engagement for 2023 was at Westminster Abbey on Dec. 8, when she hosted her third annual "Royal Carols: Together at Christmas" concert. She appeared all smiles as she arrived with Prince William and their children. One of the guests at the event remembered how she made the scouts feel at ease by chatting and high-fiving with them and said the princess "was so down to earth".

The Princess of Wales has not been seen in public since the Christmas Walk in Sandringham and will be missing scheduled royal engagements because of her surgery. A representative for Kensington Palace said in a statement that she has been advised to stay in the hospital for 14 days to recover and recuperate at home for two to three months.

Kate Middleton is not expected to return to work until after Easter in March. The palace did not share any details about her illness or what prompted her to undergo abdominal surgery, but assured that it is not cancer-related. In the meantime, Prince William has reportedly also cancelled his planned engagements as he is expected to be by his wife's side in the hospital and during the early days of her recuperation at their home in Windsor.