I’m a Royal Reporter and This Is What I Think of Your Kate Middleton Rumors

She said she’ll be back after Easter. Is that not enough?

From Princess Diana to Princess Catherine, our fascination with the royal women has always been and continues to be overwhelming—and invasive. Surprisingly, the same can’t be said for the royal men, as evidenced by the recent health developments within the royal family.

Since January, Kate Middleton has been conspicuously absent (as she said she would be—more on that in a minute) after undergoing abdominal surgery. Meanwhile, King Charles has been undergoing treatments for an undisclosed form of cancer. And yet the attention paid to the specifics of Princess Catherine’s surgery—the timing and length of her recovery and what must “really be going on with her”—far outweighs anything directed at the ruling monarch over his potentially life-threatening—and monarchy-rocking—condition.

Let us be clear: It is not a health competition. Our heart and wishes for a speedy recovery go out to both members of the royal family. But why has there been such a frenzied obsession among the public and the media over where the Princess of Wales is and if she really underwent abdominal surgery or if it was something else entirely? Rumors have run the gamut from the silly to the downright ridiculous (the princess did not in fact secretly pass away as one particularly disturbing internet theory would have us believe).

This obsession with Princess Catherine’s absence leaves us with an uncomfortable feeling of nostalgia as we remember the public and media treatment of Meghan Markle in recent years (she famously shared her mental health struggles as a result of misplaced rumors and scrutiny of her every move) and of Princess Diana as well.

Perhaps the need to know everything about these royal women (while we don’t really care where Prince William is on a given day) is because we can more easily relate to them. After all, Charles was born to be king—Diana (and later Camilla) was only a royal by marriage. Same for Kate with William and Meghan with Harry. These women are the "everywoman," plucked from "obscurity" (albeit an elite group of high society members) to become royalty. It's every child's fantasy, no? Every millennial grew up with a barrage of Disney movies daring us to dream of someday meeting a prince and becoming royalty ourselves. Kate, Diana, Camilla, Meghan—they all made that dream a reality. Or perhaps it’s just a fact that our obsession with female celebrity is infinitely greater than that for male celebrity. 

Regardless, we need to leave Kate Middleton alone.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t cover every royal appearance, commend every royal fashion choice or dissect every royal kiss and hand-hold. (It’s how I make my livelihood, after all.) These are public figures—wildly famous ones who happen to receive taxpayer money—and their lives are therefore of interest to the general public. But in this case, when the Princess of Wales has made clear that she will be out of the spotlight for several weeks while she recovers at home, it does seem like we should have the decency to allow her to do so without resorting to hyperbolic theories and rumors.

After her previously unannounced surgery, Kensington Palace made a public statement asking for such decency, writing, “The Princess of Wales appreciates the interest this statement will generate. 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.” 

But this desire for even a shred of privacy has only contributed to a tsunami of theories as to her whereabouts and condition. This in spite of the fact that the statement was also crystal clear: “Based on the current medical advice, she is unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter.” And while I’m not an expert on the Christian calendar, a simple Google search does reveal that Easter has not yet arrived. And still, the rumors and questions persist.

They persist so much that just this week, a rep for the princess has had to reclarify in a statement to E! News, “Kensington Palace made it clear in January the timelines of the princess’ recovery and we'd only be providing significant updates. That guidance stands.” Ouch. Quite blunt but…can you blame them?

While fully acknowledging that Kate Middleton didn't ask this cis male writer to come to her defense, I feel like we’ve reached a point where enough is enough. Can everyone just leave poor Kate Middleton alone? Can't we just let her recover in peace, as she asked us to? She’s generously shared every moment of her adult existence with the public—her courtship, her wedding, her pregnancies. Do we not owe her this momentary privacy in return?

And if she is, as some rumors purport, dealing with mental health issues (as Meghan and Diana both did), certainly all the speculation isn’t helping to support her mental wellbeing. Even writing this makes me feel gross, seemingly giving power and credence to the rumors in my attempt to condemn them. (What is a royal reporter to do?)

Perhaps in time, Princess Catherine will speak out about her months away from the spotlight. Or perhaps not. But as purported royal fans, shouldn’t we give her something more than our “well wishes” while furiously searching the internet for theories? Perhaps we can just give her a little breathing space. At least ‘til Easter.

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...