Kate Middleton’s Photo Triggers Unsettling Conspiracy Theories

Frederic Legrand-COMEO @shutterstock.com
Frederic Legrand-COMEO @shutterstock.com

Amidst growing speculation surrounding the absence of the Princess of Wales from public duties since Christmas Day, a controversial photo released by Kensington Palace on U.K. Mother’s Day has triggered a wave of conspiracy theories. The image, featuring Kate Middleton with her children Prince George, Prince Louis, and Princess Charlotte, faced skepticism from international picture agencies, leading major news organizations like The Associated Press and Reuters to advise against its circulation, citing concerns about possible manipulation.

The concerns over image authenticity were underscored by a “kill notification” from the Associated Press, stating that the image had been inspected closely and showed signs of manipulation. Kensington Palace, in its press release, announced that the photo was taken in Windsor earlier in the week by the Prince of Wales to commemorate Mother’s Day. However, social media users pointed out discrepancies, including a break in Princess Charlotte’s sleeve, raising questions about potential alterations.

Notably, rumors about Kate Middleton’s well-being gained momentum on social media, with a viral trend suggesting that she had been “missing” since her last public appearance on Christmas Day. Despite the palace’s announcement of her planned abdominal surgery on January 16 and the subsequent recovery period until after Easter, conspiracy theories persisted. Journalist Concha Calleja even claimed on a Spanish TV show that Kate was in a medically induced coma, a notion the palace dismissed as “ludicrous.”

Since her operation, the lack of new photos of Kate fueled suspicions, and social media posts, jokes, and memes on the topic garnered millions of views. Prince William’s unexpected withdrawal from a recent memorial for his godfather added to the speculation. Against this backdrop, releasing a potentially doctored photo further fueled public skepticism. The image’s alleged manipulation, particularly the shifting of Princess Charlotte’s hand and the absence of Kate’s wedding ring, intensified the public’s curiosity and distrust.

As the palace remains silent on the controversy, social media has become a platform for conspiracy theories. Prominent figures like left-wing commentator Owen Jones contributed to the discourse, with his post expressing disbelief and garnering 1.4 million views. The incident raises serious questions about the credibility of the released photo. It challenges Kensington Palace to regain public trust and address the growing skepticism surrounding the Princess of Wales’s absence and its events.