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Kensington Palace was clear Kate Middleton wouldn't return to public duties until after Easter — so enough with the Katespiracies

A close-up of Kate Middleton.
Kate Middleton has come under attackChris Jackson via Getty Images
  • Kensington Palace said on January 17 that Kate Middleton would be off duty until after Easter.

  • But social media is awash with baseless conspiracy theories — "Katespiracies" — about her absence.

  • I want people to shut up about it.

Kensington Palace released a statement on January 17 announcing that Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales, had undergone "planned abdominal surgery" the previous day.

"Based on the current medical advice, she is unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter," it said.

The royal wished to "maintain as much normality for her children as possible," the statement went on, and asked that her "personal medical information remains private."

Two months on, the mother-of-three is having to deal not only with her recovery but wild speculation about her condition and whereabouts.

Meanwhile, King Charles has been open about his cancer

In early February, a Spanish news outlet said that Kate was in an induced coma after complications from the surgery.

While The Times of London quoted a royal insider as saying the claim was "total nonsense," the palace didn't dignify it with a formal response.

Kate's silence starkly contrasts the situation with King Charles, who faces health struggles, too. Buckingham Palace revealed the 75-year-old's diagnosis of cancer on February 5. He has not attended public engagements but has been photographed going to church. The monarch was recently filmed reading letters from well-wishers.

I'd expect that. Unlike Kate, he is the UK's head of state.

Prince Harry has previously advocated for the kind of transparency surrounding his father's illness. He criticized the Windsor mantra, "never complain, never explain" — which some have called outdated — in an interview with Anderson Cooper in January 2023. He said the institution sanctioned leaks to the media instead.

But that doesn't mean the princess' medical records — which, according to The Independent, may already have been breached by staff at the hospital where she was treated — should be open to the public.

The gossip merchants have caused a feeding frenzy on Kate

It's shameful that social media has become a snake pit of so-called "Katespiracies."

Crucially, on February 29, the palace released a statement saying that it "made it clear in January the timelines of the princess' recovery and we'd only be providing significant updates. That guidance stands."

The gossip merchants — including Andy Cohen, who wrote "That ain't Kate" on X about a photo taken of her shopping — have ignored the guidance. They've refused to acknowledge that people heal at different rates.

It's up to Kate to choose the time and place — if at all — to share details. In 2020, her sister-in-law, Meghan Markle, chose the platform of The New York Times to write about her recent miscarriage. Admirably, she wanted to raise awareness about an often taboo loss.

The Wales family has been the subject of jokes and wild speculation

Meghan had control over her essay. Kate should have a similar agency in sharing — or not sharing — her story.

Yes, there was confusion around the doctored picture she released of herself and her children on March 10. It was withdrawn from circulation by major news agencies.

But it's no excuse to pry further into her health. It's worse to attribute her absence to the unsubstantiated claims that the Prince of Wales cheated. Stephen Colbert, I'm talking about you. You discussed the accusation on mainstream TV — giving it more credence than online chatter.

"Internet sleuths are guessing that Kate's absence may be related to her husband and the future King of England, William, having an affair," Colbert said.

"According to tabloids back then, when Kate supposedly confronted him about it, he laughed it off, saying there was nothing to it," Colbert said, adding, "Always a good response when your wife accuses you of cheating."

"I fear that all the Kate and William 'jokes' on social media and especially the Stephen Colbert material are going to seem cruel & regrettable with hindsight," Jemima Khan, a close friend of Princess Diana, wrote on X. "It's too easy to forget especially on Twitter that these are real people."

Khan quit the Netflix series "The Crown" — the TV and film producer was an advisor on the show — because the depiction of Diana's final year was not handled "as respectfully or compassionately" as she had "hoped."

It's time to extend the same courtesy to Kate rather than fuel the rumor mill. She's better than that. And so are we.

Read the original article on Business Insider