Here's A Kate Middleton Timeline That Will Help Explain Why Her Surgery Has Turned Into Drama And Conspiracy Theories

    Wild Royal Family conspiracy theories were not on my 2024 bingo card.

    If you're not as chronically online as me you might be wondering why the hell everyone is talking about Princess Catherine of Wales. And also why everyone is questioning and joking about where she is.

    Closeup of Kate smiling

    Well if you want to know, you're in luck! I wrote up a timeline of almost everything that has happened over the last few months that has essentially created a narrative, spurred by social media, that the Royal Family hasn't had in decades and is probably not too happy with.

    Kate in a formal blazer stands with a thoughtful expression, hands clasped in front

    Okay, before I get into it, I am just going to say I am not going to speculate in this post what Princess Cathrine was hospitalized for. Also, I am going to refer to them as Kate and William (so please don't bother leaving comments about me not referring to them by their titles).

    Dec. 25, 2023: Kate attends a Christmas morning church service in Sandringham, Norfolk, along with the rest of the entire Royal Family — including King Charles and Queen Camilla. This would be Kate's last public appearance.

    closeup of her in a dress and hat

    Dec. 28, 2023: People magazine publishes an article about Kate and William and how they had "finalized many of their plans for the first part of the coming year," which included a trip to Rome, Italy.

    Article headline about Kate Middleton and Prince William's 2024 plans including a major trip abroad

    January 17: Kensington Palace releases a statement that Kate had been admitted to The London Clinic for a "planned abdominal surgery" and that it had been "successful." It also stated she'd remain there for the next 10 to 14 days and "she is unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter." (So she wouldn't be seen doing any public royal duties until after March 31).

    A statement from Kensington Palace

    — The Prince and Princess of Wales (@KensingtonRoyal) January 17, 2024
    Twitter: @KensingtonRoyal

    The Kensington Palace statement went on to say that they'd "only provide updates on Her Royal Highness' progress when there is significant new information to share." The long recovery time along with the vagueness of the statement and no real information as to why Kate had to have a surgery led to some people on social media to question what was going on.

    Two police officers standing guard outside a building labeled "THE CLINIC."

    January 18: William is seen arriving to visit Kate in the hospital. This is also the only publicly documented visit there is of him going to visit her there. There are also no reports of her kids or her family coming to visit — this isn't to say that they couldn't have used a private entrance and the Palace also chose not to report it.

    Prince William driving

    January 26: King Charles is admitted into The London Clinic in order to get a "corrective procedure" for an enlarged prostate. It's also reported that the king visited with Kate after he arrived there.

    King Charles walking to car

    January 28: Spanish journalist Concha Calleja alleges on the Spanish talk show Fiesta that close Royal sources to her told her that Kate had life-threatening complications after her surgery and that "the decision was to put her in an induced coma" and that "they had to intubate her." Concha also claims that previously Kate had also been admitted into the hospital on December 28 and she was there for several days.

    Woman in a formal blazer smiling at an event

    People online realized that a Royalist Twitter account posted on December 28 a video of a convoy led by the police leaving Sandringham (where the Royal Family was spending their Christmas holiday). The account claims this video was taken at 6:30 p.m. that evening. Now it's important to note there is no way to confirm that this video clip A.) has anything to do with anyone in the Royal Family, and. B.) that it was actually filmed on that date.

    I hope all is well at Sandringham.
    My spy in Marylebone just saw this convoy heading in the general direction of King Edward VII's Hospital at eight thirty this evening...

    — Brian Moran (@RVdajdynCrclemN) December 28, 2023
    Brian Moran / Via Twitter: @RVdajdynCrclemN

    January 29: Kensington Palace releases a statement saying that Kate has left the hospital and would be recovering at home. There are no photos of her leaving the hospital.

    A statement from Kensington Palace

    — The Prince and Princess of Wales (@KensingtonRoyal) January 29, 2024
    Twitter: @KensingtonRoyal

    Also on January 29: King Charles is photographed alongside Queen Camilla leaving the hospital following a three-day stay.

    Prince Charles and Camilla exiting a building, he waves in a coat, she smiles beside him

    February 1: Palace sources tell the Times Of London that Concha Calleja's claims of Kate being placed in a coma were false and are "total nonsense" and "totally made-up." And that she had made no attempt to "fact-check anything." The Palace also denied that Kate had been previously hospitalized back on December 28.

    Headline from Royalist dismissing false claims about Kate Middleton's health, saying palace refutes her being in a coma

    February 5: Buckingham Palace announces that King Charles was diagnosed with cancer — which was discovered during his "corrective procedure" for his enlarged prostate. They do not say what type of cancer he has, just that it's not prostate cancer. He also cancels all public engagements while he gets treatments.

    Reporter on location holding up a "Mirror" newspaper with a headline about a king's health

    February 7: William attends London's Air Ambulance Charity Gala Dinner, his first royal duty since Kate was hospitalized for her abdominal surgery.

    Two men in black-tie attire smiling at an event

    February 20: William releases a statement about the Israel-Hamas War. Along with it being a rare statement from a royal, since they're required to be politically neutral, people noticed that the statement only came from The Prince of Wales and not The Prince and Princess Wales.

    Twitter: @KensingtonRoyal

    February 27: At the last minute, William backed out of attending the memorial service for his godfather, King Constantine of Greece. Kensington Palace only says he was unable to attend due to a "personal matter."

    A group of people, including royalty, seated at a funeral, listening to a speaker at a podium

    February 27–28: Twitter starts going truly wild with thousands of memes and conspiracy theories about where Kate is — which was fueled by William backing out of his godfather's memorial service. Similarly, folks on TikTok start putting up videos asking where Kate is.

    Article headline about Kate Middleton disappearance conspiracy theories and 33 absurd related memes

    February 29: No longer being able to ignore all the memes and conspiracy theories that were going viral all over social media, a rep for Kate — in a rare move — gave a statement to Page Six saying, "Kensington Palace made it clear in January the timelines of the princess’ recovery and we’d only be providing significant updates. That guidance stands." They added that she was "doing well."

    Kate with a poppy pin smiling outdoors, wearing a dark turtleneck and a camo-patterned jacket

    March 4: TMZ publishes a grainy photo of Kate sitting in the front passenger seat of a car wearing sunglasses while being driven by her mother, Carole Middleton, near Windsor Castle. This is the first time Kate has been photographed out in public since December 25. The photo also furthers more conspiracy theories.

    Kate Middleton in a white jacket smiling while next to her mother

    March 5: The official UK Army website listed Kate being in attendance at the Horse Guards Parade on June 8. Many thought this would be her first public appearance, however, her name was quickly taken down from the website. Kensington Palace clarified they hadn't been consulted about her attending. Again, this only furthered more questions online about Kate and if she is well.

    Row of uniformed guards with large black hats, performing a ceremony with rifles

    March 6: William subtly addresses all the rumors about Kate online. A spokesperson for him told People that, "His focus is on his work and not on social media."

    William in a dark blazer and light shirt gesturing while speaking indoors

    March 10: In honor of Mother's Day this now infamous photo was uploaded to The Prince and Princess of Wales' official Instagram account.

    Along with Kate wishing everyone a happy Mother's Day and thanking everyone for their well wishes, the caption also emphasizes that the photo was taken by William in 2024:

    Social media post by the Prince of Wales expressing gratitude and Mother's Day wishes, dated 2024

    People online immediately began to notice that the photo wasn't just a casual shot and that it had been heavily edited (um, and not well). And yet again, furthering even more conspiracy theories.

    I got 10! How many can you spot?#KateMiddleton

    — Kieron 🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️ (@CarriesDog) March 10, 2024
    @princeandprincessofwales / Via Twitter: @CarriesDog

    Some, like TikToker Allyn Aston — who has gotten over 1.6 million views on this TikTok — wondered if the photo was even taken this year. It was pointed out that the clothes looked exactly like the outfits Kate, George, Charlotte, and Louis had worn in an official video that they shot in November of 2023, only photoshopped with different colors:


    I have a strong suspicion that this “new” photo of Kate Middleton and her children was taken in November 2023 baded on the outfits. There is ample evidence of bad Photoshop throughout this photo and it is my personal opinion that it is because it is old and they try to change the outfits so that it didn’t look like a match. This is pure speculation and opinion based on my own research. #katemiddleton #whereiskate #whereiskatemiddleton #princessofwales #kensingtonpalace #britishroyals #british #popculture #popculturenews

    ♬ original sound - Allyn Aston
    allynaston / Via

    The video referenced had been uploaded to The Prince and Princess of Wales (Kensington Palace) official YouTube channel on December 11. In the short video, Kate and the three kids can be seen visiting a Baby Bank:

    View this video on YouTube

    The Prince and Princess of Wales / Via

    While others wondered if Kate was even in the photo at all, speculating that they had photoshopped a photo of her head from her 2016 British Vogue cover onto someone else in the shot.

    Kate Middleton smiles wearing a blazer, outdoors at a public event

    Also on March 10: In an unusual move, the AP, AFP, and Reuters sent out kill notifications for the Mother's Day photo and pulled it from their site because the photo was manipulated (beyond their standard) and that no replacement photo would be sent.

    No comment from Kensington Palace tonight after at least 3 international pictures agencies refuse to distribute this morning’s photo of Kate and her children. Some of them (@AP ) have claimed “the source [the palace] has manipulated the image”.

    — Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) March 10, 2024
    AP/@princeandprincessofwales / Via Twitter: @chrisshipitv

    March 11: Kate issues a statement apologizing about the whole photo situation, saying, "Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing."

    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. I hope everyone celebrating had a very happy Mother’s Day. C

    — The Prince and Princess of Wales (@KensingtonRoyal) March 11, 2024
    Twitter: @KensingtonRoyal

    And, of course, people online quickly turned her "I do occasionally experiment with editing" into funny memes and tweets.

    Article headline about celebrity Kate Middleton related to Photoshop reactions

    But others were suspicious of Kate's apology. Pointing out how they had highlighted that William had taken the photo but then later Kate was thrown under the bus when it was revealed that it had been heavily edited. Also, both Buckingham and Kensington Palace notoriously oversee every single little detail of anything (statements, photos, etc.) being released by the Royals, so they questioned and doubted that they would have just let Kate upload a photo onto their Wales Instagram for media companies around the world to use.

    Newspaper article titled 'FAKEY KATIE' with annotated critique of a family photo

    Also on March 11: The Daily Mail published a photo of William and Kate taken by the paparazzi of them in the back of a car with William being driven to Westminster Abbey for Commonwealth Day service and Kate to a private appointment. While you can clearly see William in the photo looking at his phone, Kate is looking the opposite way and you could only really catch a small of the part backside of her face and head.

    A closeup of Kate and William

    People were immediately suspicious of the photos authenticity after the whole Mother's Day fiasco. They pointed out that the bricks seen through the car window didn't match the bricks above the car outside. And also that the side profile of Kate looked like it had been photoshopped from this photo of her at Battle of the Somme centenary commemoration in France in 2016.

    March 12: Kate's disappearance from the public also helped resurface years old rumors online of William's ALLEGED affair with their close friend Lady Rose Hanbury, Marchioness of Cholmondeley (on the right). The alleged affair was brought into the mainstream when during his opening monologue on The Late Show, Stephen Colbert joked, "The Kingdom has been all a flutter about the seeming disappearance of Kate Middleton. Well now, internet sleuths are guessing that Kate's absence may be related to her husband, and the future King of England, William, having an affair."

    Prince William and Kate Middleton in formal attire at an outdoor event, with others around. Kate in a beaded dress

    March 13: The photo agency behind the car photo spoke with E! News and assured them that the photo was indeed authentic and that the bricks looked different because of the way the Daily Mail had cropped the photo. In the wider shot you can see that there is a small brick wall (seen through the cars window) and that behind the small brick wall is a brick house (that can be seen above the car).

    Kate and William standing side by side, both dressed in formal attire, with the person on the left in a blazer

    March 14: Agence France-Presse (AFP) announces that Kensington Palace is no longer a trusted longer a "trusted source" because of the edited photo situation.

    The image shows a newspaper article with a photo of royal family members smiling

    March 15: The Daily Beat publishes a story where — according to friends of Kate — they state that she is suffering from "intense stress" due to Harry and Meghan (because of course they need to bring them into it). And also that she was mad at the Kensington Palace staff because they were the ones who had posted the picture on Instagram not her.

    Headline states Kate Middleton is suffering from intense stress, according to friends. Mention of a break to get better

    March 16: Reports come out that Buckingham Palace has notified the BBC of a "major announcement" coming within the next 72 hours.

    Night view of Buckingham Palace illuminated with no visible people

    And lastly, March 17: The Sun publishes a story that Kate was seen "happy, healthy, and relaxed" while shopping with William on Saturday, March 16, at a local shop. Now there are no photos of her there and this based on a single eyewitness who is not named. People online, of course, are suspicious of this story and only further drives more conspiracy theories

    Headline summarizing Princess Kate's public outing post-surgery, mentioning a farm shop visit with Prince William

    Now, both Omid Scobie's book Endgame and Prince Harry's memoir Spare talk at length about how the Palace goes out of its way to carefully control the narrative by working with the UK tabloids. However, it's safe to say the Palace has completely lost the narrative here! Okay, everyone, tell me your thoughts on all of this in the comments below!!!

    Assorted newspapers with headlines about a chaotic event, featuring pictures of royals