It's actually none of our business where Kate Middleton is

kate middleton smiles in front of a black background
It's actually nobody's business where Kate isGetty Images

Look, I'll speak plainly: I love a bit of royal gossip as much as the next person, but all the recent conspiratorial tweets about Kate Middleton's whereabouts are kind of... giving me the ick.

In January, Buckingham Palace issued a statement announcing that the Princess of Wales would be in recovery from planned abdominal surgery until (at least) Easter. They provided no further information.

Naturally, social media went wild with speculation. Cue armchair doctors and conspiracy theorists running through all possible planned abdominal surgeries out there – and it has only spiralled further. Theories (and memes) put forward online range from accusations that the Princess of Wales has had cosmetic surgery that's gone wrong, to suggestions she’s being held hostage against her will – all based on a whole load of whispers and hot air. And I can't help but imagine Kate sat at home post surgery, phone in hand, reading them all.

We all know that sicky-stomach feeling when you think someone's made a joke at your expense or you discover someone's been talking about you behind your back, but imagine it feeling like the entire world is cracking up over something extremely personal. Imagine sitting in an armchair, recovering from whatever it is she's recovering from or dealing with and seeing more than 55,000 tweets linked to your name, many of them joking in nature.

Why do we still not care what that can do to a person's psyche, let alone a person who has told the world that they are vulnerable right now?

kate middleton smiles in a pink sequin dress
Getty Images

When the Palace first put word out that Kate would be stepping away from her duties for a time, the message was clear about her privacy requests. In the context of a royal statement, it was telling: to me it reads as though she's pleading for the world to give her some breathing space.

"The Princess of Wales appreciates the interest this statement will generate," it read. "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."

To be clear, this kind of frenzy over a 'missing person' could happen to any average Joe (we're all at risk of going viral at any moment), or any celebrity (and the same mental health repercussions could hit anyone). I'm not saying that because Kate is a royal, she deserves special treatment, but... if we look at how vicious gossip and trolling impacted Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, (she shared in her Oprah interview that it left her feeling suicidal) and how the media's hounding of Princess Diana contributed to her death... doesn't it all just feel a bit gross?

Just because paps aren't chasing Kate Middleton around right now, it doesn't mean she's getting off lightly. After all, in this day and age, anyone with a smart phone and the ability to hit 'publish' is technically part of the media.

Perhaps the Palace has finally learned from past mistakes when it comes to the welfare of senior female royals and the undue attention their mere existences bring, as they remain silent, allowing Kate to take a pause from duties while she recovers from whatever situation has befallen her. At least someone is (hopefully) learning from historical mistakes.

If there is another reason why the Princess is needing time out of the limelight and the Palace are trying to carve that space out for her, perhaps it’s time we take a hint and do the same.

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