Everyone’s asking: ‘Where is Kate?’ despite Kensington Palace assurances

Everyone’s asking: ‘Where is Kate?’ despite Kensington Palace assurances

LONDON — Frenzied speculation over the whereabouts of Catherine, Princess of Wales, continues to bubble online, even as Kensington Palace maintains she is doing just fine and recuperating at home in Windsor after abdominal surgery.

On Tuesday, the British Army said on its website that Catherine would be attending a military parade in June — causing confusion among royal watchers, who noted that it is the palace that would be expected to confirm the attendance of senior royals at events. The army has since deleted the post.

The palace hasn’t been hugely forthcoming about her health, but they have also been consistent, saying in statements and when asked, that she is recovering from her surgery at home in Windsor, and wouldn’t resume official duties before Easter. Here’s what to know.

Why is Catherine out of the public eye?

In January, Kensington Palace announced that Catherine underwent “successful” abdominal surgery and that she would remain in hospital for up to two weeks before recuperating at home in Windsor, and that she probably will not resume her official duties before April.

The palace kept the update vague, continuing its tradition of staying tight-lipped when it comes to royal family members’ health, despite it being a subject of fascination at home and abroad. In the statement, the palace said the surgery was “planned” and the issue was “noncancerous.”

Kensington Palace added that Catherine “appreciates the interest this statement will generate” but that “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.”

In a February update, the palace said Catherine was “doing well” and told The Washington Post that because the timeline of the princess’s recovery was “made clear” in the previous month’s announcement, it would “only be providing significant updates.”

When was the last time Catherine was seen in public?

The princess, 42, was last seen in public Dec. 25 at a Christmas Day church service in Sandringham, eastern England, where the royal family often retreats.

The princess was photographed alongside her three children and husband, Prince William, the heir to the British crown.

Why the health of Catherine, Princess of Wales, attracts fascination

Catherine has been a reassuring and stabilizing force for more than a decade; many Britons see her as a constant fixture within the royal family.

For this reason, her withdrawal from the public eye, though expected after her surgery, has generated much interest — particularly on social media, where users have heavily speculated about her whereabouts, coming up with a string of conspiracy theories and memes.

Her maiden name, Kate Middleton, has been trending for on and off for days on X. People around the world have been searching questions like “Where is Kate” and for recent photographs of the princess. Some people joked she’s had enough of the royal limelight, or that she was growing out bangs.

A paparazzi photo of Catherine, wearing oversized sunglasses and being driven in a car by her mother this week, was published by TMZ — but not by British media — and sent some social media users into another spiral, with some speculating and joking without evidence that it was not her.

On Tuesday, the British army added to the mass confusion when its official website said that Catherine would attend the Trooping the Colour military parade in June — an annual event that marks the monarch’s official birthday — before removing her name hours later.

Kensington Palace, which confirms the attendance of William or Catherine at events, did not make such an announcement.

Kensington Palace did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Where are the other senior royals?

In a rare move, Buckingham Palace announced that King Charles III was to undergo a prostate procedure on the same day Kensington Palace released the statement about Catherine’s surgery, sparking concern in the United Kingdom as the news broke that two key royals were facing health issues.

Buckingham Palace announced that Charles was diagnosed with cancer in February, following his prostate procedure. It said the monarch would step away from most public engagements while he undergoes treatment, without specifying what type of cancer the 75-year-old has — though he has since been photographed at Sandringham waving to well wishers, and meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

What we know about King Charles’s cancer diagnosis

William raised eyebrows last month when he unexpectedly pulled out of an event due to what Kensington Palace said was a “personal matter.” William was due to give a reading at the memorial service for the late King Constantine of Greece on Feb. 27 but canceled at short notice.

When asked “William, how’s Catherine” during an engagement last Friday, he did not appear to respond, according to videos published by British media.

Queen Camilla is expected to stand in for the king as he undergoes cancer treatment. Later this month, she is expected to attend an Easter service in his place, according to British media.

Prince Harry, Charles’s younger son, stepped away from official royal duties in 2020 and now lives in California with wife, Meghan Markle — a decision that divided public opinion of him in Britain. Following the king’s diagnosis, Harry made a fleeting 26-hour trip to Britain solo to see his father, but reportedly did not meet with William.

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