UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | April 18, 2024

OPINION | Everything that went wrong with Princess Kate and the media

Princess Kate has been missing from the public eye for almost two months now causing online journalists and theorists to stir up possible reasons why. The royal family has made few statements on the topic, mainly focusing on updates with King Charles and his pancreatic cancer. Mason Britton | Sun News Daily

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As an avid watcher of “The Crown,” I have declared myself an expert on the British Royal Family. When Princess Kate went missing, I knew something was up.

Kensington Palace released a statement Jan. 17 saying that Princess Kate was in the hospital due to a planned abdominal surgery and would take time to recover until Easter.

Then, the royal couple posted a picture of Kate and her kids for Mother’s Day March 10.

The controversy didn’t start until the photo went viral. The photo was photoshopped, and many believe it was generated by artificial intelligence. Instagram blocked the photo, stating that the photo was altered.

This image shocked the world when it was released, sparking conspiracy theories and even memes from the photo. Everyone has been talking about this photo, and it’s how I learned of Kate’s absence.

Based on numerous videos and analysis of the photo, I see no evidence of this being a real photo. AI is incredibly realistic these days.

Then, the Associated Press and other organizations ordered a mandatory kill order due to the photo being altered, stating that all editors needed to take the photo down from any published stories.

Once all of this happened, the internet took this and ran with it. Creating endless theories and memes, Kate was the only thing I saw on my Instagram.

Theories around Kate’s absence became more wild as the days dragged on. Yet one thing is for certain: fans just wanted to know she was OK.

I found it strange that nobody in the British Royal Family had even bothered to squash these rumors, until her recent cancer diagnosis.

Princess Kate finally addressed all of our fears and confirmed that she had extensive abdominal surgery, and it was revealed that she has a very early stage of cancer.

While I am relieved that she isn’t dead or badly beaten as some theories suggested, cancer is still a massive diagnosis. It’s incredibly unfortunate that both the king and his daughter-in-law have cancer.

Once she announced her cancer diagnosis, the conspiracy theories and endless memes almost instantly turned into hate toward people who created outlandish theories.

These same people also shamed the media for forcing Kate to announce her diagnosis, claiming that she was forced to clear her name and tell us what was really going on in order to disperse obsessive fans.

There were four prominent theories I saw in the media, but regardless of whether they were right or not, there were unethical issues with these theories.

Theory One: The Royal family murdered her, just like Diana back in 1997.

This theory was created due to the massive conspiracy around Princess Diana’s death, claiming that Kate was also murdered because Prince William was cheating on her.

It’s not proven that the family murdered Princess Diana, but her death is a conspiracy theory that far too many people believe.

Princess Diana was married to King Charles when she tragically died in a car accident in 1997. It’s widely known that the king was having an affair with the now Queen Camilla.

If “The Crown” taught me anything, it’s that he couldn’t marry Camilla unless Diana died. If the royal family murdered Kate, then the prince must have had a very similar cheating scandal.

The biggest argument made for this theory is that like his father, Prince William also had an affair with another woman.

One scandalous rumor going around is that his mistress was Rose Hanbury, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley. Hanbury has since squashed this rumor and is incredibly upset by the allegations.

If the Prince wanted to marry the Marchioness, what if he pulled a King Charles and just made Kate go away? With the cover of an abdominal surgery, something could go wrong and nobody would question her sudden disappearance.

This theory is wild, and I can only see it hurting all three people involved. Diana’s death was tragic, and the whole world felt her loss.

The fact is that involving two influential families could be damaging to Kate, especially if people talk about her as “the new Diana.”

Theory Two: Kate Middleton suffered a mental breakdown.

This theory was largely created by Popapologists, a popular podcast that has a 31-part mini-series on Instagram about their many theories on Kate’s situation. They update this mini-series multiple times daily, claiming that this theory is very close to the truth.

In part 26, they tell viewers that they have someone inside the castle who claims the princess suffered a major breakdown and no longer cooperates with the “rules” of the royal family.

In “The Crown,” viewers learn that image is the top priority for this family. They are the face of the British empire, and they can not tarnish that image.

The argument here is that as they keep Kate out of the public eye, she can’t act out and cause any more scandals, which was similar to the infamous Meghan and Harry interview with Oprah. Nobody liked the royal family after that.

Mental illness is nothing to joke about, and while Meghan Markle and Prince Harry truly suffered from the responsibility of being in such a spotlight with so many expectations, nobody could blame Kate for struggling to stay afloat. I know I couldn’t do it.

Except that Kate is OK. She takes her job as Princess of Wales very seriously and is loved by all. That’s why people took her absence so hard, but it doesn’t make it OK to shame her for taking time to rest after her surgery by claiming she’s mentally ill.

Theory Three: Her face was badly injured and can’t be seen in public.

Possibly the worst theory of all is that Prince William abused Kate, based on evidence from Prince Harry’s book.

In Prince Harry’s recent book, “The Spare,” he claims that his brother knocked him to the floor in a heated altercation. He writes, “[William] grabbed me by the collar, ripping my necklace, and…knocked me to the floor.”

Harry’s rocky relationship with his family is nothing but infamous, yet this account claims that William has a dark side. It pains me to write that some believe he hurt Kate and that’s why she was in the hospital.

People claim that her face was so badly injured, she couldn’t be seen in public.

The evidence for this theory is based on numerous viral photos of Princess Kate. One photo features Kate in her car, except the photo is so low quality that many feel it’s set up.

When fans demanded a higher-quality image of Kate, we were given another photo of her in her car. This time, however, we only saw half of her face.

Popapologists argue that this second image is very similar to another image of Kate, and this one is photoshopped.

With the shadow of the hat and the similar profiles, it makes a compelling argument. The grainy photos and shady images are the perfect equation for scandal.

Theory Four: Kate’s abdominal surgery is a fake cover story as the timeline doesn’t add up.

In a recent video, Kate and William were spotted at a farmers market. Kate is seen carrying a bag of goods. Regardless of her diagnosis, I still believe this video is fake. Nothing about it sits right with me.

If she had abdominal surgery, how could she carry that bag? I know after my abdominal surgery, I couldn’t vacuum for months, let alone carry a bag like this.

This is the theory that I believed the most. I found it hard to believe that William would let his healing wife carry bags at a farmers market.

But after the announcement Kate made, this is the only video I just can’t wrap my mind around.

Remember the palace’s statement I mentioned? She was set to be in recovery until Easter, but then she suffered complications and had to push back the day she could return to work to July.

Now, we know that these complications were actually cancer treatment, but my confusion still stands. It just doesn’t sit right with me.

It’s also worth mentioning that this video was recorded by TMZ, a widely known news organization infamous for its unethical reporting. So it’s entirely possible that this video was fabricated to try and quiet the endless talk about Kate.

When Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash, TMZ couldn’t help but publish their story before the Bryant family even knew of the death. And this isn’t the only unethical thing they’ve done. There’s just far too much to share.

Considering TMZ’s infamous reporting, I would put money on them creating a fake video just to create more talk around Kate—or quiet the endless media reporting theories about her.

What went wrong with Princess Kate and the media?

The British Royal Family unfortunately lives under the spotlight and can’t avoid the media.

When Kate stepped out of her royal duties, it made sense why people lost their minds. It wasn’t like Kate to just vanish like that.

Many ethical boundaries were crossed, from Instagram and TikTok to media reporting. People simply did not care about creating conspiracy theories about her. Many people were quick to blame the media for forcing Kate to announce her diagnosis, and maybe they did.

It’s awful that so many people harassed this family and created so much negative talk about them. I find it incredibly alarming how fast opinions change on social media.

From loving the prince and princess to hating on them, and then back to loving them and shaming those who hated them–they’re the ones who were just talking about her absence.

But one thing is for certain; when people on the internet group together and create a mob mentality, nothing else matters but the views.

The mystery of Kate is such a compelling story, and I sense a new season of “The Crown” coming very shortly. 

I truly hope that Princess Kate makes a full recovery and gets better soon and that the internet can finally relax knowing she is safe at home.

With Kate’s announcement, I hope the media gives her and her family time to heal and make a safe recovery. These people are real people too, and they deserve as much privacy as anybody else.