Ailing Kate Feeling 'So-So,' Prince William Says
09/20/2014 AT 03:45 PM EDT
William, 32, was walking near St. George's Square in the capital of Valletta when one of the hundreds of people who'd turned up to see him asked about his wife, who's expecting the couple's second child and suffering from severe pregnancy sickness.
"She's so-so, she's up and down at the moment," he told Sandra Lant, 70, who was visiting the holiday island from Suffolk, England.
Some were disappointed that she wasn't there. "A lot of the locals I have spoken to have said: 'Who's William?' " said Sue Wilding, 74, from Kennilworth in Warwickshire, England. "I think they would have preferred to have seen Kate."
Kate, 32, is still suffering from the effects hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of pregnancy sickness and, after a few days' deliberation, it was decided she should not travel. So she stayed home in Apartment 1a at Kensington Palace in London while William flew to Malta to take part in the celebration of the country's 50th anniversary of independence.
At a garden party on Saturday evening, William delivered a speech in which he said, "Catherine has asked me to say how very sorry she is that she couldn't be the one to pass on the Queen's greeting to you all." And in a conversation with Bishop Charles Scicluna, who offered prayers for her health, William told the bishop, "Fingers crossed she'll be better soon."
The two-day visit was supposed to be Kate's first official solo overseas trip, and another important step in her ongoing immersion as a senior member of the royal family.
But after consulting with her doctors (and exploring contingency plans that included having an ambulance on standby), she decided to stay at home.
Despite this setback, her health – which forced the couple to reveal her pregnancy earlier than planned – is thought to be improving.
A royal source confirms that the princess is able to be up and about, though she still needs to be resting frequently.
Earlier in the day, William had called on Malta's president, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, who told him she would love to see his son, Prince George, and the new baby in Malta one day. He laughed, telling her, "Malta might not survive Prince George. There's too many precious things around here." He added George is "very well" and "being looked after very well."
William wasn't the only British royal traveling in Europe over the weekend. His brother, Prince Harry, was in neighboring Italy attending a wedding alongside Kate's family – parents Carole and Michael Middleton and siblings Pippa and James Middleton and their partners. Despite suggestions that Harry has rekindled his relationship with Cressida Bonas, 25, she didn't make the trip.