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Kate Middleton's cancer announcement should put a stop to the swirling conspiracy theories, royal commentators say

Kate Middleton's cancer announcement should put a stop to the swirling conspiracy theories, royal commentators say
  • Kate Middleton announced she has cancer, discovered after major abdominal surgery.

  • The announcement comes after a lengthy public absence, sparking numerous conspiracy theories.

  • Royal commentators say the online speculation should end with Kate's video.

After months of speculation, Kate Middleton announced on Friday that she has cancer.

The Princess of Wales, 42, said in a video statement that doctors discovered the cancer after she underwent major abdominal surgery in January.

"My medical team therefore advised that I should undergo a course of preventative chemotherapy and I am now in the early stages of that treatment," she said.

"This of course came as a huge shock, and William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family," she added.

Kate did not specify what type of cancer.

The princess' statement comes after a prolonged absence from the public eye. Her last public engagement was alongside the royal family on Christmas Day.

Ever since announcing her abdominal surgery in January, conspiracy theories about the princess' absence and her overall health have flooded social media.

The speculation escalated on March 11, after Kate apologized for editing a Mother's Day photo that had been recalled by major photo agencies over concerns it had been digitally altered.

Kristen Meinzer, a royal commentator based in the US, told Business Insider that Kate's statement should end the conspiracy theories.

"I think the public was desperate for some transparency," Meinzer said. "I think it was the right thing for Kate to come forward with more details about her health. It will no doubt cut down on questions and conspiracy theories, and it will give her subjects a clearer way to channel their concerns."

"The royal family is usually more direct with its messaging," she said, referencing how Buckingham Palace shared news of King Charles' cancer diagnosis.

Buckingham Palace confirmed in February that the king had been diagnosed with cancer after undergoing a prostate procedure.

King Charles III after undergoing a corrective procedure for an enlarged prostate on January 29, 2024 in London.
King Charles III.Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

The palace said Charles began a "schedule of regular treatments" for his condition and had been advised by his medical team to refrain from "public-facing duties."

The king has made a small handful of appearances since his diagnosis. During a meeting with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at Buckingham Palace on February 21, Charles said he had been reduced "to tears" by the messages and cards he had received, Town and Country reported.

Royal watchers, including Meinzer, previously told BI that Kate's absence had been alarming to the public because she'd always been open about her health. For instance, she was transparent about her experience with hyperemesis gravidum — a condition that causes severe sickness — during her pregnancies.

Tenille Clarke, a commentator and PR expert, told BI that "trust and accountability" are going to be key as the royal family handles the private and public implications of Kate's diagnosis.

"The lesson here is that in moments of crisis and reputation management, the absence of credible information from the source breaks trust between the subject and the audience," Clarke, a managing director and principal publicist at Chambers Media Solutions, said.

"And in the absence of facts, people will create their own versions of the truth," she added.

Nick Robinson, a BBC presenter and podcast host, wrote on X: "I hope those who casually spread gossip, rumour & conspiracy theories about the Princess of Wales now stop & think about what they're doing and tell others to do the same."

Robinson's statement was shared by Victoria Arbiter, a royal commentator and daughter of Dickie Arbiter, the late Queen Elizabeth's former press secretary.

"They have every right to medical privacy. Hopefully seeing the Princess's video will remind the online community that there are very real people at the centre of this story," Arbiter wrote on X.

Others noted that while Kate's diagnosis deserved sympathy, the royal family is publicly funded, and the palace had a responsibility to taxpayers to communicate the whereabouts of a high-ranking member of the family.

Read the original article on Business Insider