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Kate Middleton, William, and Royals ‘Learning to Live With’ Conspiracy Theories

Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast
Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast

The royal family believe they have regained a measure of control of the narrative around Kate Middleton, friends and royal sources told The Daily Beast Wednesday, whilst accepting that wild theories on social media are simply something the royal family will have to learn to live with.

One source said Kate’s decision to pay a visit to a local farm shop at the weekend had been “the right move, because ultimately she is fine and she needed that to be seen” despite voluble claims by conspiracy theorists on social media claiming the Princess of Wales was being impersonated by a body double during the trip.

“There’s nothing you can do these days about a bunch of headbangers who have a vested interest in keeping the conspiracies going,” said the friend. “They will keep saying Catherine is a fake. But going out was the right move because ultimately she is fine and she needed that to be seen.”

Kate Middleton Plans ‘Big Bang’ Easter Sunday Return to Public Life

Another royal source told The Daily Beast: “William and Kate are nearly on the other side of this. You can argue that they should have approached the whole thing differently, but this is a marathon not a sprint. They have decades and decades of this life ahead of them, and the message is that they intend to guard their privacy, whatever the media say they should or shouldn’t do. When you look back at 2024 in a few years, you won’t even be able to see this, apart, maybe, from the Mother’s Day photo, which was, admittedly, a significant cock-up.”

Kate and William’s uncompromising stance on their privacy was arguably helped by an intervention from the British prime minister on Wednesday, following the shocking revelation that when she was a patient at the London Clinic earlier this year, for the abdominal surgery which triggered her three month break from public life, three members of staff without authorization attempted to look at her medical records.

The revelation is likely to have been particularly disturbing to William and Kate as, after her first child was born, a nurse at the hospital she was being treated at died by suicide after connecting two Australian radio show hosts pretending to be the late Queen Elizabeth and her son to another nurse who unwittingly gave out information about Kate.

A spokesperson for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said, “Clearly there are strict rules on patient data that must be followed… I think we all want to get behind the Princess of Wales, and indeed the Prince of Wales, and we obviously wish her the speediest of recoveries.”

The Sun, which published the farm shop video, ran a huge piece Wednesday with the person who shot the clip, which concluded by telling conspiracy theorists to get a hobby, and has devoted more energy to reassuring their readers the clip is genuine.

While Kate and William’s office have declined to formally authenticate the clip, The Sun has now made it clear their team effectively signed off on it. In a highly significant statement disguised as a throwaway remark, the paper said, “The Sun spoke to Kensington Palace to explain what we would be publishing before we ran the footage and photos.”

TMZ, which first posted the farm shop video and then a video by one of their hosts talking up the body double story, posted an interview Wednesday with a Kate body double denying it was her in the clip. It was somewhat tongue in cheek but still points the direction the wind is blowing. The palace will no doubt be hoping that conspiracy theories are returning to their silos.

Queen Camilla, William, Prince of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis and Mia Tindall arrive to attend the Royal Family's Christmas Day service, December 25, 2023.

Queen Camilla, William, Prince of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis and Mia Tindall arrive to attend the Royal Family's Christmas Day service, December 25, 2023.

Chris Radburn/Reuters

As The Daily Beast reported earlier this week, there will be no authorized photos or videos released before what one friend described as Kate’s “big bang” return to the limelight on Easter Sunday, with expectations building that the Princess of Wales will walk to church on Easter Sunday to mark her return to public life.

Anyone thinking that the experience of the past few months is going to prompt the famously obstinate William to rethink his overall press strategy and embrace a new era of transparency is mistaken. As the Daily Mail’s royal editor Rebecca English reported Wednesday, the opposite is the more likely outcome. She quoted insiders as saying they feared William will become “even more insular” as a result of his wife’s experience.

With impeccable timing, on Wednesday morning, an advertisement appeared on the royal family’s official website looking for a “communications assistant.”

The paltry pay packet (around $32,000 is being offered for the job) cast some light onto the palace’s famously parsimonious rates of pay—but the jokes about the royal family’s press operations needing all the help they can get just write themselves.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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