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

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
Kirsty O'Connor / Getty Images

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
Max Mumby / Getty Images

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
Samir Hussein / Samir Hussein / WireImage / Getty Images

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).

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."
Anadolu / Anadolu via Getty Images

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
Max Mumby / Getty Images

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
Adrian Dennis / AFP via Getty Images

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
Chris Jackson / POOL/AFP via Getty Images

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.

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.

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
Peter Nicholls / Getty Images

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
James Manning - Pa Images / PA Images via Getty Images

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
Wpa Pool / Getty Images

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
Wpa Pool / Getty Images

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
BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

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
Wpa Pool / Getty Images

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
George Pimentel / WireImage

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
Andrew Matthews - Pa Images / PA Images via Getty Images

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
Kin Cheung / POOL/AFP via Getty Images

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
@princeandprincessofwales / Via instagram.com

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.

@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:

allynaston / Via tiktok.com

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:

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
Max Mumby / Getty Images

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.

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."

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
BuzzFeed

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
Paul Ellis / AFP via Getty Images

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
Max Mumby / Getty Images

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.

Three people, presumably royalty, look out over a rural landscape from a high vantage point
Three people, presumably royalty, look out over a rural landscape from a high vantage point
Three royals from behind, one wearing a black hat and earring, in a formal gathering
Three royals from behind, one wearing a black hat and earring, in a formal gathering

Pool / Getty Images

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
Stephen Pond / Getty Images

And lastly, 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
Wpa Pool / Getty Images

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
Paul Ellis / AFP via Getty Images