It's hard to believe that it's been about six months since Kate Middleton welcomed her third child at St. Mary’s Hospital Monday, April 23. The world watched as Prince William stood by the Duchess of Cambridge's side to debut their eight-pound, seven-ounce son, Prince Louis, at 11.01 a.m. in the Lindo Wing of the Paddington hospital.
Flash forward, and Middleton is officially returning from maternity leave. While we did see her around — she attended her brother-in-law's wedding less than a month after giving birth, had Prince Louis' christening, went to Trooping the Colour, attended Wimbledon with Meghan Markle and Prince William, and even took a Caribbean vacation with her family — she hasn't been on royal duty. So her first official event since giving birth is visiting the Sayers Croft Trust Forest School and Wildlife Garden at Paddington Recreation Ground in London. According to the charity's website, it was "established in 1996 with the aim of involving the local community, especially young people, in the enjoyment and care of the environment."
We're not surprised by the choice of event — Middleton has been spotted walking through the park with her children during this maternity leave.
The U.K. requires all women to take at least two weeks of maternity leave after they give birth, and Middleton's maternity leaves have differed with each of her children. With Prince Louis this time around, she's been spending more time on maternity leave than with Prince George, 5, and Princess Charlotte, 3. She took six weeks after Prince George's birth in 2013 and four months after Princess Charlotte's birth in 2015.
In 2013, Middleton made a surprise appearance in Anglesey to perform her first royal duty after Prince George at a three-day marathon, which she wasn't expected to attend.
“Nothing can really prepare you for you the sheer overwhelming experience of what it means to become a mother — it is full of complex emotions of joy, exhaustion, love and worry, all mixed together," Middleton reportedly said after the birth of Prince George. "Your fundamental identity changes overnight. You go from thinking of yourself as primarily an individual, to suddenly being a mother, first and foremost.”
Despite all the complex emotions, she couldn't wait to get back to work — not unlike many working new mothers, according to Hello Magazine. So she showed up to join Prince William in meeting competitors and organizers at the start of the marathon, which sees runners circumnavigate the Welsh island. Prince William rang the bell to commence the 135-mile ultra marathon, which follows the Anglesey Coastal Path around the island that the Dutchess and Duke of Cambridge have called home since 2009.
In 2015, she joined Prince Harry and then-girlfriend, Camilla, in a horse-drawn carriage for the Trooping the Colour royal procession. Prince William, Prince Charles and Princess Anne rode on horseback in the procession to House Guards. The event is always held on a Saturday in June and welcomes more than 1,400 officers, two hundred horses and more than 400 musicians to march as one is a display of pageantry on Horse Guards Parade.
According to Marie Claire, the mother-of-three took an even longer absence this time to enjoy her summer with all three of her children. She'll also still be on leave when her sister, Pippa, is expected to give birth in October, so she can be there to support her, as well.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report,