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When Kate Middleton underwent abdominal surgery in January, Kensington Palace offered few details about the specifics. And in the weeks that followed, theories about the Princess of Wales’ procedure were everywhere on social media.

We now know that Kate has been diagnosed with cancer, and our thoughts are with her and her loved ones as she embarks on her road to recovery.

As you’ve certainly heard by now, Kate had been absent from public life since the day that she went under the knife.

The situation raised concerns about her health and questions about what sort of operation had left the Princess of Wales sidelined for so long.

Britain's Catherine, Princess of Wales arrives to attend the "Together At Christmas" Carol Service" at Westminster Abbey in London on December 8, 2023.
Britain’s Catherine, Princess of Wales arrives to attend the “Together At Christmas” Carol Service” at Westminster Abbey in London on December 8, 2023. (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP)

Kate took to Instagram this afternoon to update the world about her diagnosis.

But before that, royal watchers took to social media to offer theories that ranged from entirely possible to patently absurd.

Here’s what they came up with:

Kate Middleton Surgery Theories: Why Did the Princess of Wales Go Under the Knife?

Kensington Palace initially said very little about Kate’s condition, but officials have confirmed that she underwent abdominal surgery in January.

Catherine, Princess of Wales attends the Christmas Morning Service at Sandringham Church on December 25, 2023 in Sandringham, Norfolk.
Catherine, Princess of Wales attends the Christmas Morning Service at Sandringham Church on December 25, 2023 in Sandringham, Norfolk. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Obviously, that description could refer to any number of procedures, and royal watchers have some ideas about Kate’s operation and why it’s taking her so long to recover.

Crohn’s Disease

On X (formerly Twitter), one popular theory was that Kate was battling Crohn’s disease.

It’s a type of inflammatory bowel ailment, and a corrective procedure might have left Kate avoiding the spotlight for a number of reasons:

She could have undergone a resectioning that left her temporarily reliant on a colostomy bag, or the use of prednisone or other steroid medications might have altered her appearance.

Catherine, Princess of Wales attends The "Together At Christmas" Carol Service at Westminster Abbey on December 08, 2023 in London, England.
Catherine, Princess of Wales attends The “Together At Christmas” Carol Service at Westminster Abbey on December 08, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Hysterectomy

Another common theory was that Kate underwent a hysterectomy.

As is the case with many surgeries, recovery from hysterectomies can vary widely from one patient to the next, and it’s not unfeasible that complications might have kept Kate bedridden for two nearly two months.

In a recent TMZ-produced documentary, Dr. George Crawford supported the hysterectomy theory and explained that the operation can sometimes necessitate the removal of additional organs, requiring a much longer convalescence.

But while many surgeries involve long recovery times, Kate’s recuperation took place mostly behind closed doors, a situation that led many to conclude that she was keeping some sort of secret.

Britain's Catherine, Princess of Wales chats with well-wishers after attending the Royal Family's traditional Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham Estate in eastern England, on December 25, 2023.
Britain’s Catherine, Princess of Wales chats with well-wishers after attending the Royal Family’s traditional Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham Estate in eastern England, on December 25, 2023. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Plastic Surgery

That was one reason why many theorists were convinced that Kate had undergone some sort of cosmetic procedure.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with plastic surgery, of course, but the royals are held to a very lofty standard of decorum, and the British tabloid press is notoriously ruthless in criticism of the King and company.

So, if Kate had gone under the knife for some sort of nip/tuck procedure, she might have decided to go to great lengths to keep the matter a secret — which is her right, of course.

Britain's Catherine, Princess of Wales smiles as she arrives to attend the "Together At Christmas" Carol Service" at Westminster Abbey in London on December 8, 2023.
Britain’s Catherine, Princess of Wales smiles as she arrives to attend the “Together At Christmas” Carol Service” at Westminster Abbey in London on December 8, 2023. (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS/AFP via Getty Images)

Did Prince William Cheat on Kate?

And then there were the theories about Kate’s disappearing act that had nothing to do with her medical condition.

Many were convinced that Kate stepped away from her royal duties because she was furious about the allegations of an affair between Prince William and Rose Hanbury.

However, there’s been no confirmation of any such affair, and we now know that Kate’s recent decision to maintain a lower profile was indeed linked to her surgery.

Catherine, Princess Of Wales is seen during the opening of Evelina London's new children's day surgery unit on December 5, 2023 in London, England.
Catherine, Princess Of Wales is seen during the opening of Evelina London’s new children’s day surgery unit on December 5, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Vogler – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

In the wake of today’s diagnosis, we hope that people all over the world will come together to offer their best wishes to Kate and her loved ones.

We’ll have further updates on this developing story as new information becomes available.