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Voices: The truth behind those outlandish Kate Middleton rumours and conspiracy theories

Ask the internet about the current whereabouts of the Princess of Wales and you’ll get an education in pop culture.

“Not a single Banksy since Kate Middleton disappeared. Coincidence?” reads one conspiratorial tweet.

“It’s okay everyone, I’ve figured out where Kate Middleton is,” chimed another alongside a screenshot stating that it typically takes “three to four months” for a fringe to grow out.

Other theories include: “game of hide and seek got out of hand”, “mission to the moon”, and that she’s dating Pete Davidson.

As many people will know by now, Kate has been absent from public life since December due to a private medical issue. In January, Kensington Palace revealed that she had undergone abdominal surgery.

“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,” read a statement issued at the time. “Kensington Palace will, therefore, only provide updates on Her Royal Highness’ progress when there is significant new information to share.”

Kate Middleton recently underwent treatment for a medical issue (Getty)
Kate Middleton recently underwent treatment for a medical issue (Getty)

Since then, the only other update, which came in late January, has been that Kate was discharged from hospital. “The Princess of Wales has returned home to Windsor to continue her recovery from surgery. She is making good progress,” Kensington Palace said in a statement.

“The prince and princess wish to say a huge thank you to the entire team at The London Clinic, especially the dedicated nursing staff, for the care they have provided. The Wales family continues to be grateful for the well wishes they have received from around the world.”

The palace has since withheld any further updates aside from the now oft-repeated refrain that Kate is “doing well” and they’d only release information about “significant” updates – on Thursday, this was reissued, presumably to deter online commentators.

Add in the Prince of Wales recently missing a royal engagement due to a “personal matter”, and speculation among royal fans and the online community has reached boiling point.

Many of the theories, while all fairly harmless, revolve around Kate’s appearance. There’s the fringe rumour. The idea that she’s in hiding because of a hair colouring job gone wrong.

Kate’s absence from the public eye has led to increasingly absurd online speculation (AP)
Kate’s absence from the public eye has led to increasingly absurd online speculation (AP)

Some are even touting the possibility that she’s recovering from Brazilian butt lift surgery. Others are claiming the princess has “done a Gone Girl” or even making jokes about the Queen “pulling a Saltburn” – I’ll let you figure out the details of that one.

Clearly, a lot of people are having a lot of fun with all of this, with the most outlandish tweets garnering millions of likes and retweets. But there’s something deeper going on here, too.

After all, would we ever see this level of intrigue and obsession surrounding the Prince of Wales? Or the King? Even Prince Harry hasn’t garnered this much online activity. The sad truth is that there’s a stench of misogyny lingering around the internet’s response to Kate’s private medical issue.

Why should we know the details? Sure, she’s a member of the royal family and the public expects to be kept abreast of her general health. But the palace has made it clear that whatever is going on with Kate is a private issue. Why shouldn’t she be entitled to that?

When it comes to our health, isn’t it our prerogative how many details we share? Think about the myriad things that could be going on. There are so many health issues women experience that, for many reasons, we may not feel comfortable sharing with the world.

As the palace keeps saying, when there is a significant update to share, we’ll know. Until then, the truth is that we’ll have no real idea what’s going on with Kate – nor should we.

Though I think we can rule out a few possibilities; the actress Madelyn Cline is rumoured to be dating Davidson.