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Kate Middleton ‘to make soft return’ to public duties after surgery and photo row

The Princess of Wales will make a “soft return” to public life over Easter weekend once she has fully recovered from her surgery, according to a report.

Kate has not undertaken any official engagements or been in the public eye since having a successful procedure on her abdomen in January.

Amid intense online speculation about Kate’s whereabouts, she and her husband William, the Prince of Wales, were spotted visiting a farm shop near where they live over the weekend and royal aides are now drawing up plans for the princess to return.

Palace aides have been discussing with Kate the possibility of her walking to church on Easter Sunday to join other family members for the annual Easter matins service which takes place at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, according to The Times. The newspaper said a team of palace officials was working to manage the “messaging” around Kate’s return to make her transition back to work as smooth as possible.

Her Easter weekend appearance would be followed by a break with her children during the school holidays, with a more permanent return to public duties pencilled in at the start of the new school term, it is claimed. Kate and William’s children return to Lambrook School in mid-April.

William and Kate have been under the spotlight after she underwent surgery (Getty Images)
William and Kate have been under the spotlight after she underwent surgery (Getty Images)

The princess was expected to focus on her early years project, described by aides as “her life’s work”, when she makes a full return, The Times adds.

William, in his latest public engagement, spoke fondly of Kate’s work as he spent the day in Sheffield catching up with the developments of his ambitious Homewards project, which aims to eradicate homelessness in six UK locations.

When the future king joined a Homewards Sheffield Local Coalition meeting, he smiled when a participant mentioned the importance of children’s early years, an issue the princess has raised awareness about for a number of years.

“Venturing into my wife’s territory here. She needs to be sat here to hear this,” William said as he grinned and held up his hands.

His trip came after footage emerged of Kate out shopping at the weekend at the Windsor Farm Shop, close to their Adelaide cottage home in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

The Prince of Wales during a visit to a Homewards Sheffield Local Coalition meeting, at the Millennium Gallery (Oli Scarff/PA Wire)
The Prince of Wales during a visit to a Homewards Sheffield Local Coalition meeting, at the Millennium Gallery (Oli Scarff/PA Wire)

William’s comment about his wife was made after he joined a group taking part in the event at the City’s Millennium Gallery, and listened to their stories of being homeless but now working to help others in the Sheffield area.

One man, Chris Lynam, 41, told the royal visitor how he left the Royal Navy with post-traumatic stress disorder and this led him down a path of drug and alcohol addiction and, eventually, prison.

William told him: “Chris, can I just say how brave you are to be here and talk about your story?”

Speaking after the visit, Mr Lynam, who works with the Sheffield-based Cathedral Archer Project for homelessness, said: “Wow. Not what I expected. He was really nice man and he really listened, which took me back a little. I liked him.”

The Homewards Sheffield Local Coalition has been convened over the past nine months by Homewards to create a shared vision for Sheffield and formulate a Local Action Plan towards ending homelessness in the city.

The group includes more than 70 organisations and members of the local community with lived experience of homelessness.

Earlier on Tuesday William visited a deprived area of Sheffield to meet landlords, the local authority and more residents with experience of homelessness and how the city was tackling the issue.