/ 12 March 2024

Fanning the conspiratorial flame

Princess of Wales

The Squiz

A photo of Princess Kate and her 3 children published on Sunday celebrating UK Mother’s Day has been pulled by news agencies after a rare ‘kill notification’ was issued over claims the image was “manipulated”. Specifically, the misalignment of Princess Charlotte’s left hand, which didn’t meet up with her sleeve, and Kate’s blurred hair and hand raised eyebrows. Overnight, Kate apologised for causing all the confusion and admitted she was the one who tinkered with the image herself before sharing it on social media, saying, “Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing.” The Princess was also photographed yesterday in a car with Prince William, but some royal watchers still say the doctored photo will only fuel conspiracy theorists online.

What the heck is going on?

Let’s back it up a bit… In January, the Palace announced Kate had undergone abdominal surgery and would step back from public duties until after Easter. But as the weeks passed, conspiracy theories began swirling online about her whereabouts after observers noted she hadn’t been seen in public since Christmas Day. They varied from silly (like she’s growing out a dodgy hairdo) to more sinister claims about her health, sparking thousands of memes. On 4 March, a paparazzi photo of Kate in a car driven by her mother Carol Middleton near Windsor Castle was published – the only other image of the 42yo from this year. But as it wasn’t an official shot, more gossip circulated that it may not even have been Kate… Then, last week, the British Army was forced to backtrack on an announcement the Princess would attend a military parade in June after the Palace said it wasn’t confirmed. 

How long can this go on?

With Easter fast approaching, there are (in theory…) less than 2 weeks until Kate is expected to be back in the public eye. And you’d have to think that if there are no further updates between now and then, there will be more speculation about her wellbeing. Making matters worse for the Palace is that King Charles, who was diagnosed with an unspecified cancer last month, is also still not working his full schedule. And he has missed some big events, including yesterday’s 75th anniversary of Commonwealth Day. Prince William has also ducked out of functions at short notice, citing “personal matters”, and Queen Camilla has taken a week off – although royal watchers say that isn’t linked to her husband’s health concerns. 

Know someone who'd be interested in this story? Click to share...

The Squiz Today

Your shortcut to being informed, we've got your news needs covered.

Get the Squiz Today newsletter

Quick, agenda-free news that doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.