kate middleton health update
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The Princess of Wales Reveals Cancer Diagnosis

The news comes after weeks of rabid speculation over Kate Middleton's whereabouts.

This article was originally published on February 28, 2024 and has been updated. 

Update: On March 22, Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales, spoke to the public for the first time since her health issues gripped the public. Sadly, the Princess revealed that while undergoing her abdominal surgery in January, cancer was discovered and that she needed time to recover before beginning a round of chemotherapy. This unsettling news is a reminder that there is indeed a human (and one with three young children) at the centre of the recent royal debacles and despite her role as a working royal, the Princess of Wales does deserve the privacy she has requested. 

Where is Kate Middleton? That’s been the question on everyone’s mind lately, more than two months since the royal was last seen in public. And people on the internet are concerned, not to mention going absolutely rabid trying to figure it out.

In mid-January, Kensington Palace released a statement saying that the Princess of Wales had undergone scheduled abdominal surgery and would be staying in a private hospital to recuperate. And for weeks afterwards it was… crickets. Which sent royal watchers into a frenzy, sharing everything from maybe, kind of, sort of plausible rumours (like she is undergoing treatment for her mental health — being a royal seems stressful!) to patently wild conspiracy theories (like that the future Queen of England is in hiding after undergoing a BBL).

Below, everything to know about Kate Middleton’s recent health update and why everyone is talking about it.

When did speculation about Kate Middleton’s health start?

People first started thinking that something was amiss with the future Queen in early January of this year. On January 17, Kensington Palace released a statement announcing that the Princess of Wales had undergone a “successful” scheduled abdominal surgery the day prior. Per her doctor’s requests, Middleton had been advised to stay in the hospital to recoup for 10 to 14 days and would be missing or rescheduling engagements through the end of March.

“The Princess of Wales appreciates the interest this statement will generate.” the statement read, “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.”

At the time, public reactions were mostly positive people sending the royal well wishes, and some commenting on the oddity that the Princess of Wales wouldn’t have anticipated cancelling or turning down events in advance if she’d known she had a scheduled surgery.

After returning home to Windsor, per another statement on January 29, all has been fairly quiet, that is until February 27 when Prince William abruptly pulled out of attending a memorial service for King Constantine of Greece due to a “personal matter.” If you’re wondering, this is kind of a big deal. King Constantine is King Charles’ III late cousin and William’s godfather. It was after the future King pulled out of this engagement that people began to really speculate if this “personal matter” was related to his wife, who hasn’t been seen in public or posted on social media since Christmas 2023.

In response to these rumours, on February 29, Kensington Palace released another (somewhat sassy) statement, reading: “We were very clear from the outset that the Princess of Wales was out until after Easter and Kensington Palace would only be providing updates when something was significant.”

Only days later, royal watchers were given something to really talk about when the Princess was spotted in public for the first time since the announcement of her surgery. On March 4, a very grainy photo of the royal in a car with mom Carole Middleton was released in the press. While the royals may have thought this spotting would quell any rumours, if anything the poor quality of the photo has only increased speculation, with people online saying it’s a lookalike or someone in a wig.

On March 10, the Prince and Princess of Wales released a photo of Kate Middleton and her children to celebrate Mother’s Day. While all may have initially seemed well, it wasn’t long before the image was called out by social media and reputable photo organizations for being altered to the point that several news outlets refused to run it. It was, in short, bonkers, prompting the palace to issue a statement, allegedly from Middleton, confessing to lightly Photoshopping the image.

Just over a week later, undoubtedly in response to the continuing furor over the royal’s whereabouts, TMZ published video of Middleton and her husband, Prince William, enjoying a day out at a farm shop in their hometown of Windsor. But video proof wasn’t enough, with many people still disputing that the person filmed is Middleton.

What did Kate Middleton have surgery for?

What exactly Middleton had surgery for is part of what is driving speculation and wild theories — because we simply don’t know. Of course, Middleton is entitled to her privacy, especially when it comes to matters of her health, but the fact that little has been shared about just what said abdominal surgery was for has caused the internet’s imagination to go into serious overdrive. The hush hush around the Princess’s health also seems extra suspicious given the fact that, only weeks after Kensington Palace made an announcement about her surgery, her father-in-law King Charles III publicly revealed that he was undergoing treatment for an undisclosed cancer, detected when he went in for a hospital procedure related to an enlarged prostate.


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Wait, what does King Charles’ cancer diagnosis have to do with this?

The fact that both Middleton and her father-in-law had medical incidents around the same time is kind of important, because the way these updates have been handled is pretty telling. Since King Charles III was first diagnosed in February, the Palace has been regularly posting photos of the royal and informing the public that he is still doing well. The updates about Middleton have, comparatively, been non-existent. As well, senior royals have a history of continuing to show face in public, as a way to reassure the people that all is well and their head of state is stable, through illness and even up until their deaths. Just think of the late Queen Elizabeth II, who was photographed up until two days before her death.

Not to mention the fact that, as many people on social media pointed out, Middleton is the same woman who did a full glam photo call on the steps of the hospital 24 hours after giving birth to her first child in July 2013. Are we against the idea of women wanting to look a certain way shortly after giving birth? Absolutely not. But the fact is that Middleton did so, mere hours after pushing a new human out into the world, makes the lack of photos or evidence of her out and about feel like whatever health concerns she’s dealing with are quite serious. In line with the British mentality, we know Middleton is one to “grin and bear it” when it comes to her royal duties, so anything taking her away from them must be pretty intense.

What are the rumours about the royal marriage?

Topping the list of reasons why Middleton might be stepping away from the public eye isn’t that she’s made a detour into Scientology or been Gone Girl’d by her husband, but that the royal marriage is in trouble.

For years there has been rumours and speculation that Prince William has been unfaithful to his wife. In 2019, tabloids were alight with news that Middleton had had a “falling out” with her former friend Rose Hanbury, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley. TL;DR: Middleton, Prince William and Hanbury were longtime friends and it was reported the latter two had an affair. In 2022, these unsubstantiated rumours took off again when @DeuxMoi shared an anonymous tip about a royal, stating: “At a recent media party, I was told the real reason for the affair was the royal’s love of pegging, which his wife is far too old-fashioned to engage in. The wife doesn’t mind her and in fact prefers her husband getting his sexual needs met elsewhere, as long as things don’t become emotional, which was the case with the last woman.” The #PrinceOfPegging started trending immediately…

While the Palace has never publicly commented on any of these claims, many people believe that Middleton’s recent health issues and seclusion could be related to this, and that either the royal is getting ready to file for divorce or William’s alleged affair has impacted Middleton’s mental health. Again, none of this is substantiated.

In a March 16 statement through her lawyers to Business Insider, Hanbury — speaking our for the first time in over five years of speculation — said that “the rumours are completely false.”

So, why do people care about Kate Middleton’s health update?

With all of this chaos swirling in the ether, the real question is: Why do people even care so much about Kate Middleton’s health? The reality is, despite how people might feel about the royal family, these are public figures we have come to know and expect certain things from, whether legitimately or not. Considering the royal couple have been relatively forthcoming with details about their lives in the past, this stone-cold silence feels like a stark and telling departure. We may never truly know what’s happening with Kate Middleton (and frankly, it’s really none of our business), but the public will definitely keep guessing.

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