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How Princess Kate may be 'picking up artistic endeavours' as she recuperates from abdominal surgery

The Princess of Wales is not expected to return to her royal duties until after Easter

Kate Middleton drawing and cooking
Danielle Stacey
Online Royal CorrespondentLondon
20 March 2024
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The Princess of Wales is renowned for her active lifestyle, enjoying sports such as running, swimming and playing tennis.

During a reception for the England Wheelchair Rugby League team in 2023, Kate was asked by one athlete if she goes to the gym, to which, she said: "It's running around after the children — I do it all, whenever I can squeeze in exercise I do, even jumping on the trampoline with my children before school."

But amid her recovery from abdominal surgery in January, the Princess, 42, will have had to put some of her more high-intensity exercises on the backburner as she recuperates and gets her strength back.

"High-intensity exercises, such as running release chemicals called endorphins, which is why many runners experience 'runner’s high,'" explains psychotherapist Lauren Baird.

"Plus physical exercise can support you work through unpleasant emotions like anxiety and panic; give you a much needed boost of confidence, as you may feel a sense of accomplishment after that 5k run and support connection with others, whether that’s running with a friend or going to a class."

NHS advice states that after undergoing abdominal surgery, patients are urged to avoid lifting anything heavier than the weight of a full kettle – around 4.4lb to 6.6lb (2kg to 3kg).

Sitting and standing exercises are recommended to build strength, with an aim of walking gradually each day, increasing distance to reach 30 minutes daily within two to three months.

Princess Kate playing tennis 2021© Getty
Kate loves playing tennis, running and swimming

 "When you experience an illness, operation, or injury it makes complete sense that you notice a dip in your mood, if you've not been able to engage in your tried and tested fitness methods. Scientifically, your mind and body may not be getting access to your usual intake of dopamine, serotonin and endorphins that you usually get from exercise," Lauren says.

While Lauren says that missing out on sport and being active can "take you down a negative spiral but when you defuse from these thoughts, noticing them and letting them pass, it frees up head space to focus on the things that are important to you: your values and purpose". 

Kate Middleton painting a yacht on a mural© Getty
Kate studied art history at university

She adds: "In these moments it’s important to let your body rest and while you do that you might access other activities that are nourishing to your soul. This might be reading that book you've not had the time to get to, or picking up artistic endeavours such as drawing, writing, painting, playing music."

Kate shares a love of art and painting with her father-in-law, the King, and has previously spoken about her passion for baking to Dame Mary Berry, admitting she "stays up until midnight" to make her children's birthday cakes. In 2022, the mother-of-three was captured making cupcakes with her children in their kitchen at Anmer Hall to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee. Take a look back at the moment in the video below...

The royal has also wowed us with her musical talents in recent years. Kate, who has grade three piano and grade five theory, played piano alongside Tom Walker at her Christmas carol concert at Westminster Abbey in 2021. The Princess also made a surprise appearance during the opening performance of Eurovision in May 2023.

Timeline of Princess Kate's surgery and health updates

Close-up of Kate Middleton wearing a blazer© Getty
Kate went in for abdominal surgery on 17 January

25 December 2023 – Kate is last seen publicly on Christmas Day

9 January 2024 – Kate celebrates her 42nd birthday, with the King and Queen sharing a behind-the-scenes photo from the coronation to mark the day.

11 January 2024 – William returns to royal duties, meeting rugby heroes Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield at Headingley Stadium in Leeds.

17 January 2024 – Kensington Palace announces in a statement that Kate has undergone abdominal surgery at the London Clinic and that William has temporarily stepped back from royal duties to care for Kate and their children.

18 January 2024 – William visits Kate at the London Clinic.

26 January 2024 – King Charles visits Kate in hospital before undergoing treatment for an enlarged prostate.

29 January 2024 – Kate is discharged from hospital and returns home to Windsor to continue her recovery. King Charles also leaves the London Clinic on the same day after his treatment.

7 February 2024 – William resumes royal duties attending London's Air Ambulance Charity gala with Tom Cruise.

10 February 2024 – William and Kate spend February half-term with George, Charlotte and Louis at their Norfolk home, Anmer Hall. Kate's siblings are also pictured on holiday during the school holidays, with James Middleton and Alizee Thevenet flying to the Caribbean with baby Inigo, and Pippa Matthews and her family holidaying on the island of St Barts.

27 February 2024 – Kate said to be "doing well" as William pulls out of King Constantine memorial due to a "personal matter".

29 February 2024 – Kensington Palace addresses social media speculation, reiterating: "We were very clear from the outset that the Princess of Wales was out until after Easter."

10 March 2024 - A photograph of Kate with their three children at home in Windsor is released to mark Mother's Day and to thank the public for their "continued support".

11 March 2024 - Kate publicly apologises for the "confusion" around the photograph as she admitted  she "occasionally experiments with editing," after news agencies pulled the image amid claims it had been digitally altered. The Princess is then seen in a car with William as she's driven to a private appointment in London. 

19 March 2024 - Footage of William and Kate leaving the Windsor Farm Shop is shared by The Sun and TMZ in the first video sighting of the Princess since surgery.

22 March 2024 - Princess Kate confirms that she has been diagnosed with cancer. Kate, 42, is currently in the early stages of preventative chemotherapy, having started treatment in late February. Kensington Palace has not confirmed the type of cancer.

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