Kate Middleton aware of coverage, outlandish theories about her absence from public life: Report

Princess of Wales is aware of the media frenzy and even some of the conspiracy theories that have surrounded her in recent days, according to Britain’s The Sunday Times newspaper, which cited unnamed “friends” in a new story over the weekend.
The former Kate Middleton, 42, has generally remained out of the public eye since acknowledging a family portrait she released March 10 had been digitally altered. Video circulated on March 18 seemed to show Kate and Prince William at a market over the weekend.
In the footage — released by The Sun and TMZ — the princess was seemingly all smiles black leggings and a sweatshirt as the royal couple carried their shopping bags. Kensington Palace declined to comment on the video.
Kate had been taking an extended break from public appearances as she recovered from a planned abdominal surgery in January, according to Kensington Palace.
Notably, the former Kate Middleton was absent from this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in Aldershot, England, an event she has attended in past years.
Her husband has been carrying out solo royal engagements in the meantime, including a recent visit to a youth center and an appearance at the Diana Legacy Awards on March 14.
Despite his commitments, the Wales family “bubble” remains the prince’s top priority, sources close to William told The Sunday Times.
Sunday Times royals editor Roya Nikkhah, who authored the story, wrote that friends of William and Kate said “the couple hoped and expected that request to be respected for the duration of her recovery.”
On TODAY on March 18, Nikkhah said about the couple: “As parents of three young children, who are not immune to hearing some of the things going around in the media and social media, I think they’re finding that very hard.”
The newspaper also suggested that the princess would not be seen in public again until mid-April, which would be after the children’s Easter break from school.
Nikkhah said on TODAY: “In terms of resuming public duties, that definitely won’t be until the children go back after their school holidays, and that’s on April the 17th.”
Earlier this year, Kensington Palace said in a statement to NBC News that Kate was “unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter.”
What kind of surgery did Kate Middleton have?
The princess had a planned abdominal surgery on Jan. 16 and was “doing well,” a royal spokesperson told NBC News in February.
The palace has not shared any details about the nature of her surgery, but a royal spokesperson did confirm that the condition that led to the procedure was not cancerous.
The princess spent 13 days in a London hospital before returning home to continue her recovery, and Kensington Palace said in a Jan. 29 statement that Kate was making “good progress.”
“The Prince and Princess wish to say a huge thank you to the entire team at The London Clinic, especially the dedicated nursing staff, for the care they have provided,” the statement continued. “The Wales family continues to be grateful for the well wishes they have received from around the world.”
Where is Kate Middleton?
Kate’s prolonged absence from the public eye has sparked unsubstantiated online rumors about her health and whereabouts.
On Feb. 29, Kensington Palace reminded the public that the princess’s long break from public royal duties had been previously planned and announced.
“Kensington Palace made it clear in January the timelines of the Princess’ recovery and we’d only be providing significant updates,” a spokesperson for the princess said in a statement to NBC News. “That guidance stands.”
However, that did not stop rumors from swirling online. Over the past few months, baseless conspiracy theories claiming that Kate is missing, or else underwent a secret cosmetic procedure, have gathered steam on social media.
Online speculation about the princess went into overdrive earlier in March after she released a photo for U.K. Mother’s Day of herself and her children: Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5.
“Thank you for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months,” the photo’s caption read on the post shared to William and Kate’s official social media page. “Wishing everyone a Happy Mother’s Day.”
Not long after the portrait was released, several leading photo agencies issued “kill notices” for the picture because it appeared to be digitally manipulated.
NBC News reported in March that the photo likely wasn’t created using AI but was probably edited in a program like Photoshop. Professional photos often receive editing treatment with adjustments to effects like color brightness and contrast. Because the royal photo had been manipulated in multiple ways, it violated policies of many news wire services. The Associated Press provided an example of how the pic violated their standards in a statement to NBC News March 10, saying, in part, “It appears that the source had manipulated the image in a way that did not meet AP’s photo standards. The photo shows an inconsistency in the alignment of Princess Charlotte’s left hand.”
Kate then appeared to personally address the photo editing controversy in a social media post.
“Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing,” read a March 11 message on the official X account of the Prince and Princess of Wales. “I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused. I hope everyone celebrating had a very happy Mother’s Day. C.”
What happened to Kate Middleton?
According to Kensington Palace, the princess has stepped away from her public duties for a few months, as planned, to recover from abdominal surgery.
While she has not made any royal public appearances since December, she has been spotted in a few unofficial photos since her surgery.
On March 4, a photographer took pictures that appeared to show Kate riding in an SUV driven by her mother, Carole Middleton, near Windsor Castle.
The following week, a new photo surfaced that showed William and Kate riding together in the back of a Range Rover. Kensington Palace told NBC News that in this photo, the prince and princess were on their way to a “private appointment.”
The Range Rover photo surfaced just hours after Kate apologized for the “confusion” over her recent family portrait — and before long, rumors popped up online that the picture of Kate and William had also been digitally manipulated.
The agency that took the Range Rover picture, Goff Photos, denied this in a March 12 statement, saying that the photo had not been digitally altered beyond minor cosmetic touch-ups.
The agency said in a statement that “images of the Prince and Princess of Wales in the back of the Range Rover have been cropped and lightened” but that “nothing has been doctored!”
Still, unsubstantiated conspiracy theories continue to make the rounds online about the princess’s current situation.
This article was originally published on TODAY.com

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