Is Kate Middleton Stepping Down From Royal Duties for Now — or for Good?

It's easy to speculate about what is really going on behind closed doors when the royal family isn't saying much.

Melissa Willets - Author

Mar. 20 2024, Published 11:48 a.m. ET

Catherine, Princess of Wales attends The "Together At Christmas" Carol Service at Westminster Abbey on December 8, 2023 in London
Source: Getty Images

It's been an unusually long time since royal family watchers have seen Kate Middleton, arguably the female head of the British monarchy, in her usual role.

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The Princess of Wales has been privately recovering from abdominal surgery since mid-January, and the palace has made it clear that she is stepping down from royal duties until at least Easter at the end of March.

But is Kate Middleton stepping away from her royal duties just for now — or is this move for good?

Kate Middleton, King Charles, and Queen Camilla in their usual roles as heads of the royal family
Source: Getty Images
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So, is Kate Middleton stepping down from royal duties permanently?

It's easy to speculate about what is really going on behind closed doors when the royal family isn't saying much.

Only one statement was issued back in January that said Kate would be stepping away from her public role for a few months. And while rumors persist that there is more to the story when it comes to the health and well-being of the future queen of England than what is being shared, the palace is yet to change their tune.

Naturally, people are wondering exactly when — and if — the mom of three is ever going to resume her royal duties.

New reports claim that the Easter timeline is not happening, and instead, Kate may return to royal duties at some point after that, perhaps in mid-April when her kids return to school.

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Other reports say that Kate is going to quit the royal family altogether, while sources insist she wants to get back to business as usual.

So what's the real story? No one knows for sure, and at the time of writing, the palace had not released any new information or timelines about the Princess of Wales and her mystery medical situation.

Prince William, Prince Harry along with Kate and Meghan as they walk in front of a car.
Source: Getty Images
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Kate Middleton is unlikely to pull a Meghan Markle.

Sources who claim Kate is done with her royal duties abound.

As one so-called insider said, "Kate's desperate struggle with the constant pressures of life in the royal fishbowl has clearly taken a terrible toll on her physical and mental health. She spent weeks staying out of the public eye after her operations — and it's only strengthened her resolve to quit."

But Kate is unlikely to pull a Meghan Markle and just leave her royal role behind. Consider that Kate will inevitably become the queen of England when her husband Prince William ascends the throne.

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Meghan's chances of taking on this prestigious role aren't very high, since her husband, Prince Harry, is fifth in the line of succession, following his brother and William and Kate's three kids: Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.

Indeed, Kate's royal role is far more important in many ways than Meghan's.

That said, Harry and Meghan are not the first royals to leave the family. Most notably, in 1936, Edward VIII stepped down from the throne to pursue a romantic relationship with American divorcée Wallis Simpson.

In his place, King George VI assumed the throne. From there, he ruled until 1952 when a young Queen Elizabeth fulfilled the role — for the next 70 years. Now, King Charles is monarch, but his health is also tenuous, meaning William and Kate could become king and queen at any time.

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