Why Are We So Angry With Kate Middleton?

Confused: Sure. Outraged: Can we not?

kate middleton
Max Mumby/Indigo

Late last week, I wrote a story detailing my immense distaste for the rampant Kate Middleton rumors that have gripped the media, royal fans and royal haters alike. TL;DR: “We need to leave Kate Middleton alone.” But that was before “the photo.”

In an attempt to calm the storm surrounding the Princess Catherine narrative, Kensington Palace released a photo on Sunday, taken by Prince William and featuring…Princess Catherine! See? She’s not missing! She didn’t secretly pass away (honestly, you guys…)! She’s smiling and happy and recovering at home! Just. Like. She. Said. Phew. Now we can all breathe a sigh of relief and let the silly rumors about the Princess of Wales finally—Wait. Is that…Photoshop we see?

After the briefest of respites from the royal nonsense, photo services such as the Associated Press issued a “photo kill” notification regarding the picture of Princess Catherine and her kids. The pic was pulled because “the image appeared to have been manipulated.” The AP continued, “AP’s editorial standards state that images must be accurate. AP does not use altered or digitally manipulated images.”

Cue the dumpster fire. Make that hundreds of dumpsters…on fire.

kate middleton umbrella
Max Mumby/Indigo

Instead of stopping wild speculation about the princess and her well-being, the fans were flamed by the revelation of the photo’s alteration. So much so that the Princess of Wales was forced to break her silence for a second time in two days to issue an apology. She said, “Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing. I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused.” Unfortunately, this break from her recovery was not enough to stop the raging dumpsters.

kate middleton find kate
Paul Ellis

But now, something was different. The comments and the commentary began to shift. Rather than the immense concern for Princess Catherine’s well-being, the rhetoric began to sound a little more, well, angry. Newspapers began to sport headlines such as “Fakey Katie” and “Picture of Chaos.”

And, more importantly, comments from royal followers on the internet seemed to blame the princess (and Kensington Palace) as if some enormous sin had been committed. But what’s that saying? “Let he among us who has not altered a photo cast the first stone” or something?

kate middleton picture of chaos
Paul Ellis

Unfortunately, the altered photo played into the narrative that the royal family was capable of “covering up” what they didn’t want the world to see. But seriously, why so much anger? Nothing too egregious had actually occurred. Nothing really had changed at all. The princess was still out of the public eye. The internet still had questions. The Easter deadline for her return had still not arrived, meaning the palace’s initial statement still held true. Yet the bubble of invincibility surrounding the Waleses had been burst and—as happened with Harry and Meghan—the masses smelled blood in the royal water.

Now, accusations have surfaced that another photo has been doctored. A picture of Prince William and Princess Catherine in the backseat of a car has created an uproar as “the bricks don’t seem to match.” The new speculation even led the photo service and photographer to respond, saying that the photo had not been altered beyond lightening and cropping.

kate middleton
Max Mumby/Indigo

Denial or not, it has become clear that the fire is still spreading. And the palace appears helpless to stop it.

Perhaps some of the anger towards the royal family gatekeepers is justified—after all, why are they allowing such a large PR nightmare, and at the expense of the princess’s reputation, no less? But I can’t help but wonder why we’re all so angry here. It’s just a Photoshop snafu, people. Her whereabouts are a mystery, not a transgression. (I know she’s a public figure who receives taxpayer money so the bar is obviously set higher.)

Surely the fires will begin to die down in the coming weeks. Or not. Just when I was riding my high “leave Kate Middleton alone” horse, we got #Photogate. Who knows what the future holds—maybe an answer that will calm everyone down…or maybe just more mediocre use of the Adobe magic wand tool.

Screenshot 2023 05 04 at 1.11.39 PM

VP, News and Entertainment; 'And Just Like That' Podcast Host; Up-And-Coming Bowler

Philip spearheads PureWow's news and entertainment team. He has 10+ years experience working in entertainment coverage and viral media, previously serving as a writer/editor...