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Kate Middleton called Prince William 'a great source of comfort and reassurance' following her cancer diagnosis. Here's a complete timeline of their relationship.

Kate Middleton called Prince William 'a great source of comfort and reassurance' following her cancer diagnosis. Here's a complete timeline of their relationship.

Prince William and Kate Middleton's love story appears to be the stuff of fairy tales.

Their relationship began when they were students at the University of St Andrews, culminating in a lavish royal wedding in 2011. They went on to have three children, and often present a united front, even in the face of major royal scandal.

However, in recent weeks, the princess has become embroiled in social-media conspiracy theories amid a hiatus from public life following a planned abdominal surgery and a photo-editing controversy that has rocked Kensington Palace.

On March 22, Kate addressed the public in a video statement and revealed she had been diagnosed with cancer. She thanked William for his support, calling him "a great source of comfort and reassurance."

Here's a timeline of Kate and William's relationship through the years.

2001: Prince William and Kate Middleton met as students at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.

Kate Middleton and Prince William at university.
Prince William and Kate Middleton in university.Middleton Family/Clarence House/Getty Images

In their first interview together with The Telegraph after their engagement in 2010, Kate said she "went bright red" and "scuttled off, feeling very shy" when she met the young prince for the first time.

While William didn't join in many of the university's first-week festivities, known as Freshers' Week, the two eventually became good friends.

"William wasn't there for quite a bit of the time initially, he wasn't there from Freshers' Week, so it did take a bit of time for us to get to know each other, but we did become very close friends from quite early on," she said.

2002: They reportedly went from friends to something more after Kate caught William's eye with a sheer outfit during a student fashion show.

Kate Middleton University dress
The dress that caught William's eye.Ferdaus Shamim / Contributor / Getty Images

As Business Insider previously reported, Kate wore the $40 sheer skirt as a dress during a fashion show in 2002, and Prince William was in the audience.

According to the documentary "The Day Will and Kate Got Married," which aired in the UK in April 2021, it was this appearance that changed their relationship.

"A switch had been flicked, he suddenly saw her in a different light, and I really believe that was the turning point in their relationship," Katie Nicholl, Vanity Fair's royal correspondent, said in the documentary.

For his part, William has said their relationship changed after they spent more time together.

"We were friends for over a year first and it just sort of blossomed from then on," William told The Telegraph. "We just spent more time with each other and had a good giggle [...] and realized we shared the same interests."

2005: The pair graduated in 2005. Kate got her degree in art history, and Prince William got his in geography.

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Prince William greets fans on his graduation day in 2005.Bruno Vincent/Getty Images

By the time they graduated, the pair had already lived together with other friends and were publicly dating.

2006: Kate made her first public appearances with the royal family, and she showed her support for her boyfriend.

Kate Middleton at William's military parade, 2006
Kate Middleton with her parents in 2006.Anwar Hussein Collection/ROTA/FilmMagic

In December 2006, the Middleton family attended the Sovereign's Parade at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, in which Prince William appeared.

She was already the subject of intense media fascination.

2007: She was frequently accosted by paparazzi.

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Kate Middleton on her 25th birthday in 2007.Getty/Gareth Cattermole

At the time, a royal family spokesperson told The Telegraph that "Prince William wants more than anything for the paparazzi to stop harassing her."

2007: Tabloid newspapers reported that the couple had split up.

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William and his brother, Prince Harry, at a concert in 2007.Getty

Some of the reports were downright salacious.

"He broke up with Kate because he's met someone else who's turned his head," an anonymous source told The Observer at the time. "She's from a decent background but is very naughty and he finds her much more exciting."

But at least one insider had the right idea: "I don't think it's really over," an anonymous "pal" of Kate's told People magazine. "I don't think this is the last you'll see of the two of them."

2007: But by summer, the couple had gotten back together.

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The happily reunited couple in 2008, when William got his Royal Air Force wings.AP/Michael Dunlea

Years later, both William and Kate acknowledged that their brief breakup was a good thing.

"We were both very young ... and we were both finding ourselves," William told The Telegraph. "It was very much trying to find our own way and we were growing up."

"I, at the time, wasn't very happy about it, but actually it made me a stronger person," Kate added. "You find out things about yourself that maybe you hadn't realized. I think you can get quite consumed by a relationship when you're younger."

October 2010: Prince William proposed to Kate while they vacationed in Kenya. "I just decided that it was the right time really," he later said.

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A closeup of the stunning engagement ring.Getty/Arthur Edwards/WPA Pool

William proposed with the same sapphire ring his mother wore when she got engaged. The ring was originally given to William's brother, Prince Harry, but he asked for it before proposing to Kate.

Giving it to her was "my way of making sure my mother didn't miss out on today," William later said when they announced the engagement, according to The Guardian.

William also described the proposal in his surprisingly candid interview with The Telegraph.

"It was about three weeks ago on a holiday in Kenya. We had a little private time away together with some friends," he said. "And I just decided that it was the right time really."

"It was very romantic," Kate added.

November 2010: The couple announced their engagement to the public.

Kate Middleton Prince William Engagement
Kate and Will pose for press photos after announcing their engagement.Chris Jackson/Getty Images

"The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton," the royal family said in a statement.

It added, "Prince William has informed The Queen and other close members of his family. Prince William has also sought the permission of Miss Middleton's father.

"Following the marriage, the couple will live in North Wales, where Prince William will continue to serve with the Royal Air Force."

They appeared at a press conference and photo call at St James's Palace, London, after sharing the happy news.

"The timing is right now, we are both very, very happy," William said at the time, according to The Guardian. "We both have a very good sense of humor and we take the mickey out of each other a lot."

2011: They got married on April 29 in Westminster Abbey. That's also the day they got the official titles Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

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Pippa Middleton holds her sister Kate's dress before walking into Westminster Abbey.Getty

Here's what royal titles like "duchess" actually mean.

With a price tag of roughly $34 million and an estimated global audience of 3 billion, it was one of the most lavish weddings in history.

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William and Kate's wedding day.Getty/Julian Finney

Here are 13 other noteworthy royal weddings.

June 2011: A few months later, William and Kate embarked on their first international trip for the royal family.

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Prince William and Kate Middleton in Canada.Getty/Chris Jackson

They were all smiles as they traveled through Canada and later attended a red-carpet event in Los Angeles, California.

July 2012: Cameras caught the couple celebrating in the stands when London hosted the Summer Olympics.

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The royals embrace after a British cyclist wins a gold medal.Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

They could be seen embracing after a British cyclist won a gold medal.

December 2012: The palace announced that Kate was pregnant.

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Will and Kate emerge from the hospital after announcing the pregnancy.Fred Duval/Stringer/Getty Images

Three days later, she and William were spotted leaving the hospital. According to the BBC, Kate was undergoing treatment for severe morning sickness at the time.

July 23, 2013: Prince George made his very first public appearance. He was one day old.

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The first glimpse of Prince George.Reuters

Journalists had been camped outside the hospital for three weeks waiting for a glimpse of Will, Kate, and their firstborn.

Before he was born, the couple didn't know if they were having a boy or a girl, Kate said in a 2020 interview on the "Happy Mum, Happy Baby" podcast.

"It was a surprise," she said. "But also seeing … you know, your husband, William ... seeing the pure joy of his face, it was really special."

2013: The growing royal family posed for a portrait with their spaniel, Lupo, just after the prince's birth.

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William, Kate, and Prince George pose at the Middleton family home in Bucklebury, Berkshire.Getty Images

Lupo was a wedding gift from Kate's younger brother, James.

2014: William and Kate brought Prince George along for a three-week royal tour of New Zealand and Australia.

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Prince George prepares to depart Australia in April 2014.AP/Rob Griffith

It was their first royal tour as a family of three.

2014: The same year, the royal family announced Kate's second pregnancy.

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The couple during Kate's second pregnancy.Getty/Chris Jackson

She battled severe morning sickness with her second pregnancy, too, according to an official statement.

May 2, 2015: Princess Charlotte was born.

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Will and Kate leave the hospital with newborn Charlotte.Getty/John Stillwell/WPA Pool

A group of diehard royal fans spent weeks sleeping in tents across the street from the hospital, waiting for a glimpse of the new royal baby.

The then-duke and duchess were so touched that they sent hot coffee and a box of pastries to the makeshift camp a few days before the birth, according to the Daily Mail.

2015: After Charlotte's birth, Prince William and Kate left London to settle in a remote country village.

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William and Kate share an umbrella on Christmas 2015.Getty/Chris Jackson

Their 10-bedroom country home, Anmer Hall, was a wedding gift from the Queen, and it reportedly brought both normality and privacy to the family's day-to-day life.

"They are rarely bothered," an anonymous local source told Vanity Fair in 2016. "We are used to having royals in this part of the world. We often see them out with George and Charlotte, but no one takes pictures or tries to talk to them. That's why they love it here."

March 2016: They took their first vacation as a family of four.

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The young royal family enjoys their skiing vacation.John Stillwell/WPA Pool/Getty Images

The skiing trip to the French Alps marked the first time George and Charlotte had ever played in the snow, according to Vanity Fair.

September 2016: Later that year, they made their first royal tour as a family of four, spending eight days in Canada.

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The family deplanes after arriving in Canada.Getty Images/Chris Jackson

Here are some of their best looks from the trip.

2017: They made a major announcement that they would be officially moving the family back to London to live in Kensington Palace.

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Kate and Will walk a London red carpet in early 2017.Getty/Gareth Cattermole

Reports said that they were planning on building a massive basement extension to the historic property, which spans four floors and has over 20 rooms.

2017: They settled into life as busy city-dwelling parents.

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Prince William and Kate Middleton use their air horns as they watch the London Marathon in April 2017.Getty/Chris Jackson

However, they still knew how to relax. In April 2017, William and Kate revealed they watch "Homeland" and "Game of Thrones" once the kids are asleep. They also order takeout when they watch TV, especially curry, Kate told Radio 1.

April 23, 2018: The couple welcomed their third child, Prince Louis.

Prince Louis birth
Prince William and Kate Middleton pose for photos after the birth of Prince Louis outside the Lindo Wing.Chris Jackson/ Getty Images

Prince Louis was born just a few weeks before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal wedding.

May 2018: William and Kate attended Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.

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Prince William, Kate Middleton, and Prince George leave Windsor Castle after the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle.Gareth Fuller/WPA Pool/Getty Images

It was revealed in Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's 2021 Oprah interview that there was drama between Kate and Meghan leading up to the big day. Meghan claimed in the interview that Kate made her cry over a dispute over Princess Charlotte's flower girl dress.

March 2020: The royal couple took part in their last royal tour before the coronavirus pandemic.

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Prince William and Kate Middleton on March 5, 2020, in Galway, Ireland.Julien Behal Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images

The visit to Ireland was made at the request of Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

2020: While the UK was on lockdown due to the coronavirus, the royal couple made regular appearances on video call engagements.

prince william kate middleton video call
William and Kate speak with Casterton Primary Academy students via video chat on April 9, 2020.Chris Jackson/Getty Images

For their first Zoom appearance, they video-called children of essential workers in April 2020.

The following month, they hosted a video call to mark the first anniversary of the charity they co-founded, Shout, the UK's first 24/7 crisis text line.

April 12, 2021: Three days after the death of Prince Philip, William shared a tribute on behalf of himself and Kate.

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Prince Philip and Prince William in 2015.Chris Jackson/WPA Pool/Getty Images

"My grandfather's century of life was defined by service – to his country and Commonwealth, to his wife and Queen, and to our family," he wrote in a statement on Instagram. "I feel lucky to have not just had his example to guide me, but his enduring presence well into my own adult life – both through good times and the hardest days. I will always be grateful that my wife had so many years to get to know my grandfather and for the kindness he showed her."

"My grandfather was an extraordinary man and part of an extraordinary generation," he continued. "Catherine and I will continue to do what he would have wanted and will support The Queen in the years ahead. I will miss my Grandpa, but I know he would want us to get on with the job."

April 17: William and Kate attended Prince Philip's funeral.

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Prince William and Kate Middleton pictured at Prince Philip's funeral.Yui Mok/WPA Pool/Getty Images

They were pictured sitting together during the funeral. Prince William also was seen speaking with Prince Harry after the service.

April 29, 2021: The couple celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary.

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Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 27, 2021.ANDY COMMINS/POOL/AFP/Getty Images

However, they are by no means the longest-married royal couple. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's epic love story spanned over 70 years.

September 28, 2021: William and Kate dazzled at the "No Time to Die" premiere in London.

Kate Middleton and Prince William "No Time to Die" premiere
Prince William and Middleton attend the "No Time To Die" World Premiere at Royal Albert Hall on September 28, 2021 in London.Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Rami Malek, who said that he sat behind William and Kate at the "No Time to Die" premiere, said he thought the royal couple looked to be enjoying the James Bond flick.

"You can see a lot from what someone's body language was doing," he told E News' "Daily Pop." "I think they loved the film."

December 10, 2021: The couple shared their 2021 Christmas card featuring their three children.

Kate Middleton and Prince William with their three children pose for the family Christmas card.
Prince William and Kate Middleton's 2021 Christmas card photo.The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge/Handout/Getty Images

The Christmas card featured a photo taken of the family during a visit to Jordan earlier in 2021.

The image was noticeably more casual and intimate than other photos of the royals, especially of Prince William, who will presumably become king in his lifetime. Kate and William showed a rare display of affection by placing their hands on each other's knees.

March 2022: Prince William and Kate faced backlash on their first official overseas visit together since March 2020.

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Prince William and Kate Middleton in Jamaica.Chris Jackson/Getty Images

While touring the Caribbean to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee, which marks her 70th anniversary on the throne, the royal couple was met with backlash and criticism, a distinct turn from past royal tours.

William and Kate canceled their first stop on the tour in Belize after locals organized protests around the couple's arrival and criticized the monarchy's colonial past. The couple was later met by protesters in Jamaica, who advocated for the United Kingdom to pay reparations as a result of the slave trade there. Jamaica is currently in the process of removing the Queen as its head of state, according to The Independent.

William alluded to the backlash at a dinner held by the governor-general of Jamaica on March 23, expressing his "profound sorrow" over the history of slavery in the country.

"Slavery was abhorrent and it never should have happened," William said in the speech that was sent to Business Insider by Kensington Palace. "I strongly agree with my father, the Prince of Wales, who said in Barbados last year that the appalling atrocity of slavery forever stains our history."

April 17, 2022: William and Kate attended Easter services with their two very grown-up-looking oldest children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

kate middleton and prince william attend easter services with prince george and princess charlotte
Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince George, and Princess Charlotte attend the Easter Matins Service at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on April 17, 2022.Jeff Gilbert-WPA Pool/Getty Images

The royal family looked sharp in coordinating powder-blue outfits. It was their first time attending Easter services as a family unit. Prince Louis, the couple's youngest child who turned 4 on April 23, was not in attendance.

April 29, 2022: William and Kate celebrated their 11th wedding anniversary.

kate middleton and prince william in april 2022
Kate Middleton and Prince William attend the Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving commemorating Anzac Day on April 25, 2022.Mark Cuthbert/UK Press/Getty Images

A few days before their anniversary, William and Kate attended the Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving commemorating Anzac Day at Westminster Abbey on April 25, 2022.

August 2022: Prince William, Kate, and their three children moved from London to Windsor.

prince george, kate middleton, prince louis, prince william, and princess charlotte arrive at lambrook school on september 7, 2022
Prince George, Kate Middleton, Prince Louis, Prince William, and Princess Charlotte arrive at Lambrook school on September 7, 2022.Jonathan Brady/Pool/Getty Images

On August 22, palace officials announced that the royal family would move from their home at Kensington Palace in west London to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor, allowing them to be closer to Queen Elizabeth II.

Prince George, then 9, and Princess Charlotte, then 7, who previously attended Thomas's Battersea in southwest London, started at the private Lambrook School in Ascot in early September.

September 8, 2022: Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the ascension of King Charles III, Prince William became heir to the throne.

A crowd gathers at Buckingham Palace following Queen Elizabeth II's death.
A crowd gathers at Buckingham Palace following Queen Elizabeth II's death.Yui Mok - PA Images / Contributor / Getty Images

Charles, the former Prince of Wales, became King Charles III on Thursday, September 8, when his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, passed away at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Prince William is now heir to the throne and is expected to ascend to the throne upon his father's death.

Prince William and other royal family members traveled to Balmoral to be with the Queen in her final hours. Kate remained in Windsor to see Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis off to their first day of school.

September 9, 2022: King Charles III announced that Prince William and Kate would become the Prince and Princess of Wales.

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Kate Middleton and Prince William.Max Mumby/Indigo/Pool/Getty Images

King Charles III announced in his first official address to the UK as reigning monarch that his son Prince William and Kate Middleton, formerly the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, would take on the titles of Prince and Princess of Wales.

"Today, I am proud to create him Prince of Wales," the king said Prince William's new title. "The country whose title I have been so greatly privileged to bear, during so much of my life."

Charles held the title for over six decades. When he married Princess Diana on July 29, 1981, she assumed the title of Princess of Wales. She is the most recent royal to hold the title. King Charles III's second wife, Camilla, held the title of Duchess of Cornwall before becoming Queen Consort.

"With Catherine beside him, our new Prince and Princess of Wales will, I know, continue to inspire and lead our national conservations, helping to bring the marginal to the center ground, where vital help can be given," the king said.

William and Kate's Instagram handle changed to The Prince and Princess of Wales after the king's speech aired.

January 9, 2023: Kate celebrated her 41st birthday amid shocking claims from Prince Harry about his broken relationship with William.

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Kate Middleton and Prince William in 2022.Julian Finney/Getty Images

Ahead of the release of his memoir, "Spare," Prince Harry spoke with Anderson Cooper on an episode of "60 Minutes" that aired on January 9.

In the interview, Harry spoke about his fractured relationship with William and detailed an altercation at Kensington Palace in 2019 in which he said William knocked Harry to the ground during an argument concerning Meghan Markle. This accusation was also laid out in a leaked excerpt of Harry's upcoming autobiography.

"He grabbed me by the collar, ripping my necklace, and he knocked me to the floor. I landed on the dog's bowl, which cracked under my back, the pieces cutting into me," Harry wrote, according to a paragraph from the book published by The Guardian. "I lay there for a moment, dazed, then got to my feet and told him to get out."

Buckingham Palace has not commented on the memoir.

Despite the ongoing drama surrounding William and Harry, royal family members took to social media to wish the Princess of Wales a happy birthday.

"Wishing The Princess of Wales a very Happy Birthday today," the official royal family Instagram account, helmed by King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla, captioned a photo of Kate taken during a recent visit to Wales.

December 25, 2023: Kate made her last official public appearance, accompanying her husband and three children as they attended church at Sandringham on Christmas morning.

Prince William, Kate Middleton, and their kids on Christmas in 2023
Kate, William, and their children attend the Christmas morning service at Sandringham Church on December 25, 2023.Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images

The family was photographed smiling and waving to onlookers. This marked the last time that Kate was photographed at an official royal engagement prior to announcing she had been diagnosed with cancer on March 22.

January 17, 2024: The palace issued a statement that Kate had undergone a "planned abdominal surgery."

Kate Middleton wearing a deep-red fascinator.
Kate Middleton in September 2023.Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

The palace said Kate's surgery was successful and that she was expected to remain under hospital care for 10 to 14 days, and then would return home to finish her recovery. The statement also announced that Kate would be suspending public engagements until likely after Easter.

"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," the statement read.

On January 29, the palace issued a statement that Kate had been discharged from the hospital.

February 7, 2024: Prince William thanked well-wishers following Kate's abdominal surgery and the news of his father's cancer diagnosis.

Prince William talks with Air Ambulance Pilots, Doctors and Paramedics as he attends the London Air Ambulance Charity Gala Dinner
Prince William talks with Air Ambulance pilots, doctors, and paramedics as he attends the London Air Ambulance Charity Gala Dinner.DANIEL LEAL/POOL/AFP/Getty Images

The palace issued a statement on February 5 that King Charles had been diagnosed with cancer after having treatment for an enlarged prostate in January, at which point the cancer was discovered. The statement also said Charles would be refraining from "public-facing duties" following the diagnosis, per his medical advisors' advice.

Two days later, Prince William returned to his public duties and addressed the news about his father publicly, as well as Kate's recent medical status.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you, also, for the kind messages of support for Catherine and for my father, especially in recent days," William said in a speech at the London Air Ambulance gala, People reported. "It means a great deal to us all."

March 6, 2024: After speculation over Kate's whereabouts and medical status began to grow, William issued a brief statement.

Prince William leaves the stage after delivering a speech during the London's Air Ambulance Charity Gala Dinner on February 7.
Prince William leaves the stage after delivering a speech during London's Air Ambulance Charity Gala Dinner on February 7.DANIEL LEAL/POOL/AFP/Getty Images

Kate had not been seen publicly since Christmas Day, aside from a paparazzi photo published by TMZ on March 4 that showed the royal wearing sunglasses and sitting next to her mother in a car.

Another dimly lit photo published by the Daily Mail on March 11 showed Kate riding in a car with William, her face turned away from the camera.

The princess' monthslong absence from public life sparked conspiracy theories about her health and whereabouts, but a palace spokesperson tried to dispel the speculation.

"His focus is on his work and not on social media," a spokesman for the Prince and Princess of Wales told People.

March 10, 2024: The couple's official accounts share a Mother's Day photograph of Kate and her three children, sparking controversy.

A tabloid story about the edited Mother's Day royal photo of Kate Middleton
A picture shows stories in Britain's national newspapers, about the altered Mother's Day photo released by Kensington Palace on March 10.PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

"Thank you for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months. Wishing everyone a Happy Mother's Day," Kate captioned the photo, which was shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, and taken by Prince William.

However, within hours of news outlets reporting on the image, the Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse announced they would no longer distribute it over concerns it had been "manipulated."

Many were quick to notice oddities in the photo, like Princess Charlotte's pink cardigan which appeared to be starkly cut off.

On March 11, Kate released a statement apologizing for the photo, writing on X, "Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing. I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused."

On March 14, ABC News reported that the photo had been processed in Photoshop twice, once on March 8 and again on March 9 before it was released on Sunday.

However, it left many wondering why the palace would release an edited photo.

"'Photogate' is a PR disaster, no matter how you look at it," royal historian Marlene Koenig told Business Insider. "It's a major, major story, whether the fangirls like it or not. It's not about Kate being sick. It's not about Kate being a member of the royal family. It's about someone who manipulated a photograph to make it look better. Now there's definitely a lack of trust."

March 22, 2024: Kate Middleton shared that she has been diagnosed with cancer and that William had been by her side.

Kate Middleton is receiving treatment for cancer.
Kate Middleton in the video statement announcing her diagnosis.BBC Studios

In a video statement, the princess shared that she had been diagnosed with cancer and is in the early stages of undergoing a course of preventive chemotherapy treatment.

Kate thanked her husband for being "by [her] side," and shared that the couple has been "doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family."

"Having William by my side is a great source of comfort and reassurance too. As is the love, support and kindness that has been shown by so many of you. It means so much to us both," Kate said in the video statement. "We hope that you will understand that, as a family, we now need some time, space and privacy while I complete my treatment."

The princess also shared that it has taken time to explain her condition to her three children and "to reassure them that I am going to be OK."

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