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Speculation About Kate Middleton's Health Reaches a Fever Pitch Online

catherine, princess of wales visits streets of growth in london
Speculation About Kate Middleton's HealthWPA Pool - Getty Images

In January, Kensington Palace announced that Kate Middleton had undergone planned abdominal surgery and would not resume public duties until "after Easter" at the earliest.

"The Princess of Wales appreciates the interest this statement will generate," the Palace said at the time. "She hopes that the public will understand her desire to maintain as much normality for her children as possible; and her wish that her personal medical information remains private." After being discharged from the London Clinic, Kensington Palace said the Princess would be recuperating at home at Adelaide Cottage in Windsor. Later, Prince William shared that his wife has two "amazing and kind" nurses caring for her. But broadly speaking, the Palace noted that they would not be providing updates, only when there is "significant new information to share."

Yet, yesterday, when Prince William missed his godfather King Constantine's memorial service in Windsor due to a "personal matter," the Palace—perhaps realizing the unspecified explanation of William's absence could trigger speculation about the Princess of Wales—shared a health update on Kate, saying she "continues to be doing well."

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Prince William's mysterious "personal matter," coupled with an increased interest in the royal family following the shocking death of Thomas Kingston (the son-in-law of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent), led the internet to suddenly explode in conversation about Kate Middleton's health.

the british royal family attend the christmas morning service
The Princess’s last public appearance was at Sandringham Church on December 25, 2023.Samir Hussein - Getty Images

Speculation on X (formerly Twitter) ranged from serious concern for Kate's wellbeing to silly memes. As a user named Mahida wrote on X, "I have fallen down the Where is Kate Middleton rabbit hole and I need someone to come take me out immediately. It’s wild down here."

The conspiracy theories are making the Palace's silence on Kate's health and whereabouts, though that was always their plan, even starker. The lack of updates on Kate is in sharp contrast to the communication regarding King Charles in recent weeks. Since Buckingham Palace announced Charles's cancer diagnosis, he has been photographed attending church at Sandringham, meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and reading get well cards sent to the Palace.

King Charles also publicly shared a personal message, writing, "I would like to express my most heartfelt thanks for the many messages of support and good wishes I have received in recent days. As all those who have been affected by cancer will know, such kind thoughts are the greatest comfort and encouragement." Of course, Kate is not head of state like Charles is, but as she is a working senior royal, and a prominent member of the family, the absence of any news has been worrying for many.

Others on social media were more light-hearted in their posts about Kate. "The kate middleton drama is hard because i don't care about the royal family or conspiracy theories, however, i do care about being in everyone's business," one person wrote. There were also jokes about how she was growing out bangs, or hiding from her kids in the bathroom. Some people shared fictional characters who could "find" her, like Detective Olivia Benson, or even that Kate "entered the princess protection program."

Kate's last public appearance was on Christmas Day, when she joined the rest of the royal family at Sandringham for church services. As Kensington Palace has previously shared, she's not expected to return to public duties until after Easter (Easter Sunday falls on March 31 this year)—so despite the online speculation, there will likely be no answers about the Princess of Wales anytime soon.

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