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Bugger Off and Leave Kate Alone

The title above is a communiqué on behalf of Kensington Palace about Catherine, the Princess of Wales (commonly known as Kate). It is not actually a release by the Palace, though I feel sure it is what they would like to say, but feel restrained from d…

The title above is a communiqué on behalf of Kensington Palace about Catherine, the Princess of Wales (commonly known as Kate). It is not actually a release by the Palace, though I feel sure it is what they would like to say, but feel restrained from doing so. CounterPunch has no such restraint of course, so I am pleased to fulfil this function on behalf of royalty.

Princess of Wales and family. There are allegations that this image was digitally manipulated. Photo: Kensington Palace.

On 17 January, Kensington Palace, announced she had a “planned abdominal surgery” at the London Clinic, which was stated to be non-cancerous, but no more details were revealed, except that it would be about a fortnight till she returned home and at least three months till she returned to public appearances. Updates would be provided “when there is significant new information to share.”

That should have been the end of it in my humble opinion. If you had a friend in that situation and they had made it clear they wanted to recuperate in peace and didn’t want to provide further details about their operation, wouldn’t you respect that and leave them alone, until they felt well enough to reappear? If you wouldn’t, then I’m glad you’re not my friend.

There is the argument that she is a public figure, but public figures also have certain rights to privacy and also to be treated decently. The January communiqué said: “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.” That seems to me fairly clear and eminently reasonable.

The internet is full of idiots, so the hashtag #whereiskatemiddleton has trended daily. I’m not sure why. We’ve already been told where she is – at home recovering from surgery. That is not good enough and a mixture of trolls and conspiracy nuts conjured up explanations, including that she was dead, that it was all a ruse to cover up a divorce and – my favorite – she was undergoing the final stage of transitioning from male to female.

Overseas media had a field day, including Vogue and the New York Times. Spanish TV announced definitively she was in a coma. The BBC managed to be salacious under the guise of objective scrutiny with a headline: “Analysis [for which read provocative gossip]: A Royal dilemma as public curiosity over Kate’s health grows”.

We expect the general public to be illiterate, but surely the BBC should be able to slake the public’s thirst by referring them to the January 17 statement. Daniela Relph, the Royal correspondent,  manages to ask idiotic questions by blaming other people: “My own WhatsApp messages probably reflected what lots of people were wondering. What’s wrong with Kate? Why won’t they tell us?”

Royal reporting is obviously not what it used to be. I am pleased to answer Daniela’s questions. What’s wrong with Kate is that she has had abdominal surgery. Daniela should know why they won’t tell us, because she ends her article with the explanation: “This is a princess who wants to keep things private.” If she had started with that simple fact, it would of course have rendered her whole article redundant.

George Galloway and Piers Morgan with the ghost of the Princess of Wales. Definitely not digitally manipulated. Piers Morgan: CC-BY-4.0 International. George Galloway: CC-BY-SA 2.5 Generic. JK the Unwise.

Piers Morgan is the leading spokesperson for the United Kingdom, whose prestige, insight and authority tower over everyone else, including the Prime Minister, and is often the stalwart voice of commonsense and sanity in a world of interminable pronouns, but seems to falter when it comes to royals, whether those by birth or those co-opted by marriage.

A few days ago, he masterfully trumped (no pun intended) up schadenfreude clickbait with the statement: “I’ve been told some stuff that, if even half of it is true, it’s pretty alarming what is happening.”  He doesn’t seem to place much faith in whoever is telling him some stuff, seeing as he’s not even sure whether even half of it is true or not  – I’m sure you have noticed the conditional get-out clause. A fuller and more incisive analysis would go along these lines:

“I’ve been told some stuff that, if all of it is true, it’s more than pretty alarming what is happening.”

“I’ve been told some stuff that, if all of it is bollocks, it’s not in the slightest pretty alarming what is happening.”

He added for good measure that the Royal Family are “hiding something”. That’s right. That’s what they said from the outset, if you want to put it that way: they are hiding the intimate details of Kate’s operation.

For the last few years, I have been an on-demand carer for a female friend who has various chronic female complaints, some of which would undoubtedly have been alleviated if she could have had “abdominal surgery”, which she can’t for other health reasons. It does tend to make the person feel vulnerable and sensitive about such matters.

I guess you can’t win if you’re a royal. Being guarded and circumspect attracts a hoo-ha. Being a blabbermouth (no need to name names) attracts even more opprobrium.

The latest storm about Kate gests more coverage than the conflict in Ukraine, which is a “war” as far as Ukraine is concerned and a “special military operation” from Russia’s point of view. Perhaps they could work towards peace with a compromise of “special military war operation”.  Anyhow, moving on to the recent crucial story…

It concerns a photo of Kate and the three children, all with lovely smiles, taken by Prince William and released to the press. Everyone was happy, until it was noticed that some bad digital manipulation had been done. Kate issued a statement saying she was the guilty party as a tinkering amateur photographer. There was no explanation as to why she did this, nor any issue of the original pre-manipulated version..

The news agencies promptly withdrew the photo, as it didn’t meet their rules for photo journalism. That seems a bit remiss. Surely they should have retained it, as it’s become a news item, and just re-captioned it as the controversial, digitally-manipulated image.

You don’t have to rely on anonymous internet users for idiocy. We have (certain) MPs for that and one of them is George Galloway, recently elected by a shock result in a by-election in Rochdale, Greater Manchester. On 14 March he X’d (is that the right term for what was formerly “tweeted”?): “Princess Kate has been missing for almost 80 days. There’ve been three faked photos and millions of rumors. What are the royals covering up? Is she dead or has she downed tools?”

I think I’ve already covered why she’s not “missing” and she can hardly be held responsible for “millions of rumors”, though Galloway can for some of them. He has surpassed Piers Morgan in hot air. It must be very disappointing for him, when she was photographed three days later in a farm shop in Windsor. But have no fear: the internet is now speculating that the photo is a body double or even AI-generated, and, as I write this, I see that Piers Morgan has referenced such mad notions.

Possibly a photo taken yesterday, or else on 5 May 2023 with First Lady of the United States, Dr Jill Biden, and First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, at Buckingham Palace. CC-BY-2.0 Generic. Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

No doubt all of this will all be out of date by the time you read it and there will be videos of the Princess of Wales, skiing, hang-gliding and scaling the outside of One World Trade Center, along with rumours that she has been kidnapped by Osama bin Laden.

The Princess of Wales has, as far as I can see, done a fine and dedicated job as one of the royals in the public arena, but doesn’t want to invite the public into her abdomen. I understand this as my parents were the same. I only found out, after my mother died and I inherited her diary, that twenty years earlier she had had abdominal surgery. Fortunately, she wasn’t a leading member of the royal family (she just acted like it on occasion), nor was she undergoing a sex change.


How the family photo was digitally manipulated.

This content originally appeared on and was authored by Charles Thomson.

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