Prince William Temporarily Steps Back From Royal Duties to Care for Kate Middleton After Surgery

The Prince of Wales is not expected to return to royal engagements immediately.

Prince William is prioritizing supporting Kate Middleton following her recent surgery. 

On Monday, the Princess of Wales, 42, was released from the hospital in London and returned home to Windsor, England, "to continue her recovery from surgery." Her release comes 13 days after she underwent abdominal surgery.

A source tells ET that the Prince of Wales, 41, "has temporarily stepped back from his royal duties in order to care for his wife and it’s not expected that he will return to engagements immediately."

According to the source, Kate and their three children -- Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5 -- are William's "first priority and he won't return to public engagements until Princess Kate is settled."

ET has also learned that "William visited his wife nearly every day while she was recuperating at the hospital, slipping in quietly to spend time with her."

"William has also been doing the drop off and pick up at Lambrook School," the source adds. "The Prince and Princess of Wales have wanted to keep it as normal as possible for Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis."

Following Kate's surgery, "the children have spent time with Kate’s parents at their home in Bucklebury and Kate's siblings."

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Earlier this month, it was announced that Kate had gone into The London Clinic for a planned abdominal surgery that required 10 to 14 days of recovery in the hospital. It was also announced that the mother of three would not be returning to her official royal duties until after Easter, which falls on March 31 this year. 

The palace has chosen to keep further details of Kate's condition private, though she's "making good progress" in her recovery. 

Kate's hospital release comes on the heels of King Charles III's own hospital discharge following a surgery for his enlarged prostate. The 75-year-old British monarch went into The London Clinic hospital last week for the previously disclosed procedure. On Monday, he and his wife, Queen Camilla, were seen leaving The London Clinic together in good spirits. 

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ET understands that the king stayed three nights in the hospital, which was a longer recovery time than was initially anticipated. He may take up to a month off from public engagements while recovering. 

Amid the royal family's string of hospitalizations -- Sarah Ferguson also recently underwent a "successful" surgery after being diagnosed with breast cancer -- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have reached out to both Kate and Charles. However, royal expert Katie Nicholl told ET that that's likely more due to human courtesy than a sign that things are improving between the families.

"We understand that they've reached out both to the king and the Princess of Wales. Is that a thawing of relations, or is it just a human courtesy? I think probably the latter," Nicholl told ET last week. "I think it is courtesy more than the sign of any softening of relations, particularly between the couple and Princess Catherine."

Still, Nicholl does believe that "there will be a dialogue between Harry and his father" in the coming weeks, as Charles recovers from his prostate procedure.

"Whatever has happened, the king loves his son. We know that there were calls at the end of last year, around the time of the king's birthday," she explained. "Whatever's happened between them, Harry will be concerned for his father. It's still his father. He's still gone in for an operation. Yes, a pretty standard one, but a procedure nonetheless. One wonders if this might just be the opening that's needed for a bit more dialogue between the couple and the king, and possibly even Princess Catherine."