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Kate Middleton's Surgery 'Does Sound Serious' but 'She Will Bounce Back,' Says Source (Exclusive)

The Princess of Wales is navigating a challenging path after serious abdominal surgery

<p>Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty</p> Kate Middleton arrives at the Shaping Us National Symposium at the Design Museum on November 15, 2023 in London.

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

Kate Middleton arrives at the Shaping Us National Symposium at the Design Museum on November 15, 2023 in London.

As Kate Middleton recovers following abdominal surgery, there is confidence in her resilience.

“It does sound serious with the length of time [she’s taking]. But she is in great hands and will have lots of care and support at home and is a fit young woman,” a source close to the royal household tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s issue. “I am sure she will bounce back.”

The Princess of Wales, 42, is embarking on a long recovery after having “planned abdominal surgery” at the private London Clinic on Jan. 16, which was announced by Kensington Palace the following day. The statement said that Princess Kate would remain hospitalized for “10 to 14 days, before returning home to continue her recovery” and that it would be unlikely for her to “return to public duties until after Easter.”

The palace has not disclosed the nature of her condition but has stated it is noncancerous. A former patient who had abdominal surgery at the London Clinic tells PEOPLE that the Princess of Wales is in good care there.

Related: Former Patient at Kate Middleton's Hospital Details Recovery After Abdominal Surgery: 'It's a Bit Scary at First'

“The physical therapists are amazing, helping you recover and get back on your feet. After abdominal surgery, you need a lot of patience, and it’s a bit scary at first,” says the insider, who was treated at the London Clinic last June.

Planned visits to Rome and an overseas military base have been postponed, with foreign travel deferred for the coming months. Once back home at Adelaide Cottage in Windsor, Princess Kate will find the space and privacy needed for healing. She can also lean on her husband, Prince William, and her close-knit family.

<p>Samir Hussein/WireImage</p> Princess Charlotte, Prince William, Prince George, Mia Tindall, Prince Louis and Kate Middleton leave St. Mary Magdalene at Sandringham on December 25, 2023.

Samir Hussein/WireImage

Princess Charlotte, Prince William, Prince George, Mia Tindall, Prince Louis and Kate Middleton leave St. Mary Magdalene at Sandringham on December 25, 2023.

Related: Kate Middleton’s Surgery Came as a Surprise to Those Close to the Royal Family

“It is sensible to take the time,” says the source close to the royal household. “That is a great example to the rest of us, as you’re often told to get back to work as soon as possible, which can be damaging. It is good for all of us to see her taking the time, recovering properly and then coming back. We can all learn from that."

<p>Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images</p> Kate Middleton on June 5, 2022

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Kate Middleton on June 5, 2022

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Prince William is expected to postpone some engagements to be by his wife’s side and support their family. A close family friend says the couple doesn’t have “a huge private staff,” and “as a result, William is really hands-on” with his children.

“He doesn’t want any mistakes made with the next generation. He wants to give them a proper upbringing and lots of love. That is foremost in his mind,” the friend says.

Royal biographer Robert Hardman adds, “They are a modern royal couple. There would have been more delegation [in the past]. He doesn’t want to leave it all to the nanny.”

<p>DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty</p> Kate Middleton and Prince William arrive at the Royal Variety Performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London on November 30, 2023.

DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty

Kate Middleton and Prince William arrive at the Royal Variety Performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London on November 30, 2023.

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