Kate Middleton's first post-surgery photo after weeks out

All smiles and surrounded by her children: Kensington Palace released the first official photo of Princess Kate since surgery in mid-January, ending a long and unusual media absence that fueled speculation about her health.

• Read more: Uncertainty surrounds Kate Middleton's return

• Read more: Worse than we think, King Charles is already preparing his successor

Does the Palace hope to put an end to these questions with this photo? Its release comes after an eventful week, with an unpublished photograph in US media specializing in celebrities and confusion surrounding the princess' presence at an official event next June.

The last official public appearance of Prince William's wife was two and a half months ago, at the end of December at the royal family's Christmas Mass in Sandringham (East of England), an unprecedented choice for the popular princess. Headlines in the British media.

In this official photo taken by William, according to Kensington Palace, on the couple's official social media accounts, Kate smiles in a lawn chair, wearing jeans, a sweater and a black jacket, surrounded by her three children, George, Charlotte and Louis.

The palace said the photo was “taken in Windsor earlier this week”.

“Thank you for your well wishes and continued support over the past two months. Happy Mother's Day to all who celebrated in the United Kingdom this Sunday,” the text message, signed “C” (Catherine), is accompanied by a photo.

While the royal family's actions have always been scrutinized by the press, the operation and Kate's recovery have raised many questions, including criticism from the tabloids, which have been very favorable to the couple as she trains with William.

Kensington Palace announced on January 17 that the princess had undergone “scheduled” abdominal surgery at a London clinic the day before, without giving a reason but denying that it was related to cancer.

He expressed Kate's “wish” that her “personal medical information remain private” and noted that she will not be taking part in any official public engagements before Easter. William also reduced his schedule to stay with his wife and children.

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Twelve days later, the palace said the princess returned to her home in Windsor. Since then, there has been nothing or almost nothing, apart from a small statement in late February, when questions piled up in the press, to indicate that it was “working well” after Prince William canceled a public pledge for an unspecified “personal reason”.

But this week, Palace's precise communication was put to the test. First, two American media outlets published a celebrity photo of Kate sitting in the passenger seat of a vehicle driven by her mother, with dark glasses on her nose.

British newspapers did not carry the picture, in keeping with official requests to respect the family's privacy during the princess's recovery.

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The next day, another hiccup: the defense ministry notes on one of its websites that the princess will participate on June 8 in one of the military parades organized for the sovereign's official birthday.

Kensington Palace, which manages Kate and William's agenda, would not confirm, but royal sources confirm that it was not consulted in advance by the government, which ultimately withdrew mention of Kate's presence.

The communication surrounding Kate's health is at odds with Buckingham Palace's transparency efforts around the cancer Charles III is suffering from. Although his nature has not been clarified, the King is regularly photographed at some official function, mainly interviews with the Prime Minister or foreign ambassadors.

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