Is Kate Middleton OK?
That is the question being asked after Kate didn’t show up at a friend’s wedding last weekend.
But sources say there is no need to worry on her behalf. Kate is not suffering postnatal depression as some less restrained outlets have claimed, and is doing just fine after having her second child, Princess Charlotte, in May.
However, what is true is that she’s not ready to return to the hectic whirl of her pre-pregnancy life just yet.
Provoking all this speculation that Kate might be suffering some kind of baby blues was a small snippet of news published this week, which detailed how last weekend Kate pulled out of attending the wedding of close friends at the last minute.
Her sister Pippa stood in as William’s date.
The diarist Sebastian Shakespeare reported, “The hosts appeared to have been informed so late that Kate’s name was still on the seating plan at the reception in a marquee overlooking the village green,” with a wedding guest telling him, “Everyone was talking about it over breakfast the next morning.”
Adding to the sense that all may not be going perfectly is the fact that the palace is still reluctant to confirm when the Duchess will return to full time royal duties.
Additionally, the Royalist understands that Kate and William are not planning any foreign holidays before she returns to full time active duty, which is not likely to be until toward the end of the year.
Although she is receiving criticism for her lack of visibility since the birth of Princess Charlotte—and there will always be those who argue that the life of a royal is nothing but freeloading, and attending public events shouldn’t be considered ‘work’—Kate firmly believes that her most important job is raising, nurturing, and caring for two future kings and one little princess.
The fact that she is now opting to avoid some high-profile social occasions may be nothing more than a simple desire to avoid doing anything tiring—a very normal reaction for any new mother, most of whom live in a permanent state of exhaustion.
However it is also an attempt to spike the guns of those critics who would—with tedious predictability—argue that if she is well enough to go to a party, she is well enough to go to work.
There is nothing in her official diary now, but sources tell the Royalist that Kate’s strategy is to very slowly build up the number of engagements to which she is committed throughout the autumn.
For example, there will be more events in Kate’s diary in October and November than there will be in September.
For the rest of the summer Kate will be living as quietly, and as far below the parapet as possible, at her country house, Anmer Hall, where the extensive and well-policed grounds—and the fact it is part of the Queen’s Sandringham Estate—means she and William are able to relax and entertain friends without fear of being photographed by lurking paparazzi.
There will always be those who will criticize Kate for being “lazy,” but, to be fair, if Kate returns to full time work in January her maternity leave will be well within British norms.
Most working mums in the UK take between three and six months off work. The boss of Marks and Spencer, for example, recently announced that she would be taking around five months off work to have her first baby.
Mothers can and often do take up to a year with extensive state support.
Given that her baby Princess Charlotte was born on May 2nd, one might therefore have expected Kate to remain off the Royal rota until November or December, which is what she plans to do. But it should also be remembered that in fact Kate did attend one event on July 26, made a semi-official appearance at Wimbledon on July 8, and attended Trooping the Colour on June 8.
Anyone who says this isn’t work probably hasn’t been photographed in public just weeks after giving birth.
In her “full time” royal role—that nebulous state of which Prince William recently admitted “no one actually really knows what that means”—Kate would usually be expected to press the flesh at between 50—100 public appearances per year. In the background, there are lots of private meetings with charities and individuals.
After giving birth to Prince George in 2013, Kate returned to public life after less than a month, playing a game of volleyball where she inadvertently flashed her stomach (it was flat, natch) but sources say that she felt the return to the public eye was too rushed.
This time she appears unwilling to make the same mistake.