As Tongues Wag Over Kate, Palace Chides the Rumor Mill

Following her mysterious surgery, a Prince William schedule change ramps up speculation
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 29, 2024 1:30 AM CST
Updated Mar 1, 2024 1:30 AM CST
Why the Internet Is Convinced Kate Middleton Is Missing
Kate, Princess of Wales smiles as she speaks to a woman during her visit to Sebby's Corner in north London on Nov. 24, 2023.   (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)
UPDATE Mar 1, 2024 1:30 AM CST

Kensington Palace on Thursday put the kibosh on conspiracy theories surrounding Kate Middleton's continued absence from public life. "Kensington Palace made it clear in January the timelines of the princess' recovery and we'd only be providing significant updates. That guidance stands," a spokesperson for the Princess of Wales tells HuffPost. The rep says Kate is "doing well." The palace's January statement indicated Kate may not return to public life until around Easter following an abdominal surgery in January that required up to two weeks of recovery in the hospital.

Feb 29, 2024 1:30 AM CST

Kate Middleton hasn't been seen in public since Christmas Day, which of course has led to wild speculation online about what's going on, the New York Times reports. The British royal family revealed in January that the Princess of Wales had undergone abdominal surgery and would be hospitalized for as long as two weeks, with no plans to return to public duties until sometime after Easter. But then her husband, Prince William, pulled out of a planned appearance at a memorial service at the last minute Tuesday, citing only a "personal matter" as the reason, and the conspiracy theories about Kate really started gaining steam, Forbes reports. The memorial service was a "major" one, for Greece's King Constantine, and William had been scheduled to do a reading for the man who was his godfather, Slate reports.

The conspiracy theories swirling around Kate hypothesize that she's missing, or even possibly dead, though there are also more lighthearted ones (like, perhaps, that she's just growing out bangs). As Heather Schwedel explains at Slate, it is a bit odd that the palace hasn't even released the most cursory of photographs of the princess in the more than a month since her surgery: "We're talking about a woman who famously stepped out for photographs with immaculate hair and makeup mere hours after giving birth." Adding to the oddness is the contrast with King Charles, who has returned to some official duties following his cancer diagnosis and who has in general been seen as much more open about his health issues of late. For a roundup of social media comments on the situation, see Forbes; for an amusing and detailed explainer of all this, see Slate. The official word from the palace continues to be that Middleton is recovering and doing well. (More Kate Middleton stories.)

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