Has Kate Middleton “Disappeared”?

Unpacking the rumours around the Princess’ post-op recovery from unserious (in Miami having a BBL) to sinister (moonlighting as an Ooompa Loompa at the cursed Glasgow Willy Wonka experience)
Unpacking the disappearance rumours surrounding Kate Middleton’s post-surgery recovery from the unserious to the sinister
Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales, is driven down The Mall after the funeral for HM Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in London, United Kingdom. 19 September 2022. Tom Jenkins for The Guardian / POOL.

Since Kate Middleton stepped away from the public eye in mid-January due to abdominal surgery, an unexpected amount of nonsense and tomfoolery has been espoused by internet sleuths claiming the Princess of Wales has “disappeared”. Indeed, while the former Duchess of Cambridge rests soundly in Adelaide Cottage, her and Prince William’s family residence on the grounds of Windsor Castle, speculation about her whereabouts has run rampant over social media feeds.

The volume and intensity of these illogical, albeit entertaining, theories have garnered so much fanfare that representatives of Buckingham Palace have been forced to intercept the line of interest before it spins too far out of control. As confirmed today by a palace aide, Middleton “continues to be doing well”.

So why then, especially after her absence from the public eye slated until Easter weekend, is her recovery time being posited as “disappearance”?

SANDRINGHAM, NORFOLK – DECEMBER 25: Kate Middleton spotted for the last time in public ahead of her “planned abdominal surgery” at Christmas Morning Service at Sandringham Church on December 25, 2023 in Sandringham, Norfolk. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)

At the time of her planned procedure, the Palace shared very little about the nature of the surgery, rather advising she would remain as a hospital in-patient at the London Clinic for under a fortnight before relocating to the historic Berkshire seat for the remainder of her recovery. As expected, the shroud of secrecy around the operation piqued intrigue, but it wasn’t until Prince William bailed on attending the memorial service of his late godfather, Greece’s King Constantine II, for “personal reasons” that the rhetoric took a speculative turn.

Combine the ominous reason for cancelling with the lack of updates on Middleton’s condition and you have a recipe for a PR disaster. Despite the evidence pointing to the obvious (Middleton healing at home), her “truancy” from public life and events like the BAFTAS have led netizens to propose alternative locations for her whereabouts.

The leading conspiracy theories? Middleton has flocked to Miami to get a Brazilian butt lift (BBL). She’s moonlighted as an Oompa Loompa at the nightmare-fuel Glasgow Willy Wonka experience. She’s in Trisha Paytas’s womb preparing to be reborn as the Internet celebrity’s second child. Perhaps she’s even in Thailand with Mike White and preparing to check into The White Lotus.

Unpacking the disappearance rumours surrounding Kate Middleton’s post-surgery recovery from the unserious to the sinister
NOTTINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM – OCTOBER 11: Kate Middleton. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Yes, these unserious proposals should only be read for their entertainment value, but they do hint at a sinister sentiment bubbling from underneath the surface of British consciousness. In asking “Where’s Kate?”, not only is she disavowed the privacy and time required to properly heal before returning to service, but even her time away from her public-facing role has been coalesced into a variety show for our consumption.

The act of one of the world’s most photographed women being removed from news cycles has caused bedlam to erupt. Even with the collection cognizant of her departure, is she not owed a modicum of seclusion? Royal representatives issued one final remark about her supposed vanishing act. “We were very clear from the outset that the Princess of Wales was out until after Easter and Kensington Palace would only be providing updates when something was significant.”

This article first appeared originally on GRAZIA International.