What Is Going on With the British Royal Family This Week?

While the British royals are no strangers to a life in the spotlight, this week, the intense media focus was perhaps unexpected as speculation about Kate Middleton's health and recovery reached a fever pitch online.

Here's what happened with the House of Windsor this week:

Speculation Over Kate Middleton's Health

the british royal family attend the christmas morning service
The Princess of Wales was last seen publicly on December 25, 2023.Stephen Pond - Getty Images

On Wednesday, Prince William unexpectedly bowed out of attending a Service of Thanksgiving for his godfather, the late King Constantine of Greece, less than an hour before the service was scheduled to begin. Citing a personal matter for the Prince's absence, Kensington Palace quickly clarified that Kate Middleton, who has not been seen in public since Christmas and had abdominal surgery in January, continues to be doing well—perhaps over concern that royal watchers would link William's absence to his wife's recovery.

This chain of events seemingly created the perfect storm for speculation about Kate's health and whereabouts to explode online. On Thursday, in response to the rumors and conspiracy theories, a spokesperson for Kate told T&C, "Kensington Palace made it clear in January the timelines of the Princess' recovery and we'd only be providing significant updates. That guidance stands." In an earlier statement, the Palace said they would be keeping Kate's diagnosis private, explaining, "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."

The spokesperson reiterated that Kate is "doing well," but again, shared no details. That did not do much to quiet speculation—and William, in engagements in London on Thursday and in Wrexham on Friday, kept to his policy of not commenting on Kate's health.

A Shocking Death in the Family

thanksgiving service for king constantine of the hellenes
Prince and Princess Michael of Kent in Windsor, just hours befoer the death of their son-in-law was made public.WPA Pool - Getty Images

Hours after the service for Constantine ended, Buckingham Palace shared news that Thomas Kingston, the son-in-law of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, had passed away in a shocking death at age 45. The husband of Lady Gabriella Windsor, Kingston was found deceased in Gloucestershire on Sunday evening. The inquest into his tragic death began yesterday, though there are no suspicious circumstances.

In a statement on behalf of Lady Gabriella Kingston, Thomas's parents Martin and Jill Kingston, and his sisters Joanna Connolly and Emma Murray, Buckingham Palace shared, "It is with the deepest sorrow that we announce the death of Thomas Kingston, our beloved husband, son and brother. Tom was an exceptional man who lit up the lives of all who knew him. His death has come as a great shock to the whole family and we ask you to respect our privacy as we mourn his passing."

Prince Andrew's Prominence

thanksgiving service for king constantine of the hellenes
Prince Andrew, left, walks to the Thanksgiving Service for King Constantine with other members of the British royal family. WPA Pool - Getty Images

On Wednesday, Prince Andrew and his ex-wife, Sarah, Duchess of York, walked in front of the group Windsors as they headed into St George's Chapel for Constantine's memorial. Prince Andrew was also pictured sitting in the front row of the chapel. The prominence and visibility was notable for Andrew, as he stepped down from royal duties in November 2019, and has only made a select few public appearances with the royal family in the years since—including his brother's coronation. Just as recently as January 2024, the Duke of York was named in court papers relating to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Queen Camilla and Prince William continue royal duties

queen camilla hosts reception for the bbc's 500 words finalists
Queen Camilla and Tom Hiddleston during a reception for the BBC’s 500 Words Finalists at Buckingham Palace.Chris Jackson - Getty Images

As King Charles continues to receive treatment for his cancer diagnosis, he remains out of the public eye, but Queen Camilla has continued her normal schedule of royal engagements. This week, the Queen met with Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska and hosted a reception for the BBC's 500 Words Finalists at Buckingham Palace. After Charles's cancer diagnosis was announced, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said "Her Majesty will continue with a full programme of public duties."

So, too, have other royals continued carrying out engagements, including Prince William (though he has scaled back to support Kate in her recovery), Princess Anne, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, and Prince Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh. (The Edinburghs were notably absent this week, as they were vacationing in Switzerland on a ski vacation.) The two other senior royals—the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra—have stepped back from public life due to their age, though the elderly siblings (and first cousins of Queen Elizabeth) were both in attendance at Constantine's memorial service.

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