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Kate: Privacy watchdog launches probe into Princess of Wales's hospital notes 'breach'

A probe has been launched into reports that hospital staff attempted to view the Princess of Wales's private medical records.

The hospital in central London where the princess was treated in January has launched an investigation into the claims, according to reports.

At least one member of staff was alleged to have been caught trying to access the royal's notes, the Mirror reported.

Royals latest: William 'deeply frustrated' at Kate speculation

Kate attended The London Clinic in January for abdominal surgery - and she has not attended a public engagement since.

An Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) spokesperson said on Tuesday: "We can confirm that we have received a breach report and are assessing the information provided."

Hospital bosses are said to have contacted Kensington Palace after the apparent breach came to light.

The clinic refused to comment on the claims but told the Mirror: "We firmly believe that all our patients, no matter their status, deserve total privacy and confidentiality regarding their medical information."

Kensington Palace said: "This is a matter for The London Clinic."

Sky News has contacted Kensington Palace and The London Clinic.

The security breach is not the first time Kate has faced public exposure of private medical records

In 2012, two Australian DJs posed as the Queen and the then Prince Charles in a prank call to King Edward VII's hospital where Kate was being treated for acute morning sickness.

Indian-born nurse Jacintha Saldanha was found dead three days after transferring the call to a colleague who divulged details about Kate's recovery.

Conspiracy theories flourish

Conspiracy theories have flourished on social media following Kate's absence from public life after her surgery, with many speculating about her whereabouts and health.

A poll for Sky News found more than half of people in the UK have seen conspiracy theories on social media about why the Princess of Wales is absent from public life - but it has not dented trust in the Royal Family.

Footage emerged of the royal out shopping with the Prince of Wales at the weekend at the Windsor Farm Shop close to their Adelaide cottage home in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

Online speculation increased after news agencies pulled a Mother's Day photograph of Kate and her children after irregularities were spotted, which led to the princess admitting to "editing" the image and apologising for any "confusion" caused.

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Two public appearances since operation

The future Queen has been photographed in public twice since her operation.

In a picture published on 4 March, she was seen in the front seat of a car driven by her mother, Carole Middleton, in the Windsor area.

She was also photographed sitting next to the Prince of Wales in a chauffeur-driven car last Monday, when he attended the Commonwealth Day service in London and she was driven to a private appointment.

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Kate could walk to church on Easter Sunday - report

Kensington Palace has been drawing up plans for Kate to make a "soft return" to public life, according to a report in The Times, with the possibility of her walking to church on Easter Sunday.

Meanwhile, Simon Lewis, the late Queen's former communications secretary, told Sky News that William and Kate's engagement on social media is a "Faustian bargain".

"I think every single member of the Royal Family is very aware that the Royal Family must be visible and must be visible in a way that is contemporary. And I do think the use of social media by the members of the Royal Family has been absolutely spot on," he said.

"It's about long-term communication of what the institution stands for and what the members of the Royal Family are doing. And I think that requires a different kind of communication and also requires a different way of thinking about how stories unfold."