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Royal Rumors

Conspiracies Rise About Kate Middleton’s Royal Absence 

Kate Middleton, also known by her royal title Princess Catherine of Wales, had a planned abdominal surgery on Jan. 16 and took a prolonged leave of absence from royal duties. She wasn’t seen or photographed for months, and that has sparked many rumors and theories on social media about where she has been and if something happened to her.

“I have heard/read many theories, ranging in their degrees of plausibility,” upper school math teacher Katie Walker said. “A few days ago, I read one theory that involved Taylor Swift harboring Kate in her house in London. I will happily entertain any and all of these theories until we know the full story.”

The first official photo of Middleton after her surgery was released on March 10, which was Mother’s Day in England, and it captured her sitting with her three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. The photo was instantly suspected of being edited and even of using AI, because of some visual inconsistencies. It ended up being recalled by news agencies such as The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse for being manipulated. On Monday she posted an apology on social media, explaining that she was the one who edited the photo.

“Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing,” Middleton said. “I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused.”

There are still rumors circulating about this photo, causing the Princess’s lack of public appearances to create even more conspiracy theories about what may be going on with her, though nothing is known for sure, besides the fact that she underwent abdominal surgery back in January.

“I think our social media always needs to stir up some drama and there always has to be something going on that spices up our lives and that people get fixated on,” junior Emily Hawken said. “So, I think it's [Middleton’s absence] just another kind of act that's being put on to stir up drama.”

Some of these theories about why Middleton hasn’t been seen include lighthearted things from growing out a bad haircut, to more intense things like a divorce from Prince William and even health issues leaving her near death. None of these theories have been proven, though, people online have not stopped yet.

On Saturday, March 16, the Princess was spotted visiting the Windsor Farm Shop with her husband Prince William. Their outing was captured by TMZ, and in the photos, Middleton appears happy and healthy. Though there are new photos of her circulating, online conspiracy theorists are still claiming that there are suspicions about those images and say it isn’t her in the pictures. Nothing has been confirmed, but most of the theories are being considered fake news.

“Because the royal family exists in the public eye, Kate surrendered a certain degree of her privacy when she decided to marry William,” Walker said. “It shouldn’t be surprising that the public wants to know what’s going on, nor should it be shocking that the media is pursuing the story. I think the strange part of this situation is that the royals haven’t been able to control the narrative. The lack of clear communication from Windsor Palace has led to wild speculation about what’s happened with Kate.”

Update: At the time this article was written, it was not released as to why the Princess of Wales was absent from the public eye. On March 22, 2024, Middleton released a video announcing to the world that she has been diagnosed with cancer and that was the reason she had stepped back from her duties. The media is still speculating, however this diagnosis has slowed the conspiracies which have mostly been replaced with support from the media.


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