Kate Middleton’s absence triggers waves of conspiracy on social media: '#WhereIsKateMiddleton'

Kate Middleton hasn’t been seen in public since she was at Sandringham for Christmas with the rest of the Royal Family. This prolonged absence has left many questioning where the princess is.

Kate Middleton Prince William conspiracy theories
© Samir Hussein / GETTY IMAGES
Kate Middleton Prince William conspiracy theories

2024 started on a strange note for the British Royal Family. Two health scares, one royal taking time off and a death. All of that in only two months.

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One of those health scares concerned the Princess of Wales. On 17 January, Kensington Palace announced that the Princess had undergone ‘planned abdominal surgery’. No further details were given out concerning the health issue of the royal and people were asked to ‘understand her desire to maintain as much normality for her children’ and ‘her wish for that her personal medical information remains private.’

After her two week stay at the hospital, the Princess returned to Windsor where she is understood to be recovering away from the public eye. Her return to duties is expected after Easter.

Kate Middleton at the centre of conspiracy theories

In her absence, on X the hashtag #WhereIsKateMiddleton has accumulated a lot of gossip about the Princess' whereabouts. These rumours have been animating the social network for a good few days and it doesn’t seem to be relenting.

The rumours have become so much that publications such as The New York Times and Forbes have also reported on them. The latter does an excellent job at summarising the most prevalent theories. These include and are not limited to:

  • Divorce or marriage issues
  • Running away with American comedian, Pete Davidson
  • Mental health issues

This wave of rumours started when a Spanish royal expert, Concha Calleja, suggested that the Princess had been put in a coma at the beginning of February. Though some of the theories listed above are downright ridiculous, the rumours about the whereabouts of the Queen-in-waiting reveal something far more serious about the state of the Royal Family.

Why have the rumours intensified?

The answer to that question varies according to who does the answering. For instance, Dani di Placido, writing for Forbes, suggests that a compilation of events in recent years have led to it.

The journalist quotes the highly dramatic exit of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as well as The Crown. Though the Netflix show might have less to do with it, it is true that the departure of the two royals broke the shield of reverence the Firm seemed to enjoy.

di Placido writes:

The contrast between the polished exterior of the Royal Family and the dark secrets that have fermented under the surface have surely ignited the imaginations of commentators and conspiracy theorists.


The reason for Kate Middleton’s prolonged absence might be melodramatic or mundane, but no one trusts the Palace to tell the truth.

Moreover, Prince William’s absence from his godfather's memorial service didn’t help. Indeed, by stepping down last minute without specific justification the Prince poured oil on fire. It even forced a a royal source to say the Princess ‘continues to do well’. Unfortunately, that statement had the opposite effect of being reassuring as it pursued the old Royal Family motto: ‘Never complain, never explain.’

In his column in Main Online, royal expert Richard Kay notes that the Palace’s silence in these troubled times adds ‘to the sense of apprehension that all is not well within the royal house’. Moreover, Kay explains that though Prince William has a right to privacy ‘the silence has been a gift to conspiracy theorists.’

The expert also suggests that by choosing not to divulge details the Prince is feeding into the speculation. Finally Kay writes:

Never in modern memory have the royals had so many multiple troubles at the same time.

In light of growing media attention on her absence, Kensington Palace took the rare decision to issue a statement to ABC News on Thursday 29 February. They said:

Kensington Palace made it clear in January the timelines of the Princess' recovery and we'd only be providing significant updates. That guidance stands.

Kate Middleton could have a difficult return

Royal watcher @matta_of_fact on TikTok has of course been following and commenting on the story. In her most recent video titled ‘Why people are worried about Kate’ she suggests that on top of the health issues, the Princess’ return to public duties will be made difficult by the secrecy surrounding her recovery.

She says:

This is the reason why people are suddenly so worried about it: it involves her husband, Prince William. The mirror is cracking a little bit with Prince William it seems.

Moreover, the royal watcher explains that people are fascinated by the Princess because they see her as not just a royal but as a celebrity. She ends the video saying:

When Kate is back on the scene, this is just going to put so much pressure on her to be that perfect Princess. To ease everyone’s minds like the minute she steps out of her car.

Read more:

Kate Middleton's four best friends are helping her recover from surgery: Here's who they are

Kate Middleton: Source explains how she could be key to reconciliation between Princes William and Harry

Kate Middleton: This new photo reveals a striking resemblance with her son Prince Louis


Sky News: Prince William pulls out of memorial service due to personal matter

The New York Times: Rumors Swirl Amid Concern Over the Princess of Wales

Forbes: The ‘Kate Middleton Is Missing’ Conspiracy Theory, Explained

Mail Online: RICHARD KAY: Never in memory have the royals had so many troubles at once. If not yet a crisis for the House of Windsor, it's getting perilously close...

Prince and Princess of Wales on Instagram

@matta_of_fact on TikTok

Royal Fans rejoice at Prince William and Kate's frequent social media updates: 'It’s like “The Wales Daily” Series' Royal Fans rejoice at Prince William and Kate's frequent social media updates: 'It’s like “The Wales Daily” Series'