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Kate Middleton's First Sighting After Surgery Only Fuels the Conspiracy Theories Even More

The royal family probably thought it was a great idea to get a snapshot of Kate Middleton out there to the public, who has been tweeting away furiously with the hashtag #WhereIsKate. In theory, it’s a great idea: here’s the Princess of Wales, she’s recovering, her mom Carole Middleton is taking care of her, and everyone moves on. Well, as we mentioned before, the PR handling of this situation has been messy, and the palace let the narrative of her health crisis get way ahead of them.

The grainy photo of Kate didn’t exactly look like the highly polished princess that royal fans are accustomed to. (Do any of us look good when we are sick or not feeling our best? No!) Some social media users didn’t think it looked like her at all — and that’s when the conspiracy theories started sparking on X, formerly Twitter, yet again. The image might have had the opposite effect of what the royal family had been hoping for, even though ABC News reported that “the photograph was not released or authorized by Kensington Palace.”

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According to Katie Couric Media, British tabloids largely avoided publishing the seemingly unauthorized photo, only fuelling reports that it wasn’t Kate.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 18: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge attend a Christmas lunch for members of the Royal Family hosted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on December 18, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – DECEMBER 18: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge attend a Christmas lunch for members of the Royal Family hosted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on December 18, 2019 in London, England.

However, it’s hard not to spot the photo credit that listed Backgrid, a news agency that often works with celebrities to shoot planned paparazzi photoshoots. People are savvy these days and it’s hard to pull a fast one over eagle-eyed fans, but some of the latest theories are over-the-top. “girl that ain’t kate middleton…. that’s some unknown,” wrote one skeptical account on X. Another believes the woman sitting next to Carole in the passenger seat is her younger sister, Pippa. “Pippa girl, is that you?Is this the double I was talking about? 🫠 Will the real Kate Middleton please stand up,” they asked.

Royal expert Amanda Matta, who does daily analysis of the palace on TikTok, noted that Kate has a habit of getting photographed in the car when big news drops. “Now, this picture is so funny to me because the car paparazzi shot is Kate Middleton’s go-to move when she wants to be seen, but not answer any questions,” she explained on her account. Matta then goes on to point out driving snapshots of the Princess of Wales “looking stoic” after Prince Harry’s Spare was published, after Harry and Meghan Markle’s Oprah Winfrey interview, and after Queen Elizabeth II passed for the perfect “somber” shot.

“And I say ‘gave’ paparazzi this shot because we’ve seen over the past two months that it is possible to hide, to remain private if you want to as a royal,” Matta concluded. So, while the conspiracy theories are wild — this snapshot is totally from the Kate playbook. She’s giving everyone the photo that they want, even if it’s only fueling the fire even more.

Before you go, click here to see the 100 best photos of the royal family from the past 20 years.

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle

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