Where is Kate Middleton? All the latest drama and social media theories you need to know

Online rumours and speculation about the Princess of Wales' whereabouts and well-being are spreading in a frenzy.

Kate Middleton's last public appearance was on Dec. 25 during the Christmas Morning Service at Sandringham Church. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
Kate Middleton's last public appearance was on Dec. 25 during the Christmas Morning Service at Sandringham Church. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Kate Middleton has been at the top of everyone's minds lately.

The Princess of Wales has been absent from royal duties for a few months following a "planned abdominal surgery," spurring online rumours about her whereabouts and frenzied speculation over what might've happened to Prince William's wife.

Dec. 25 was the last time Princess Kate made a public appearance, where she attended the annual walk to Sandringham Church for Christmas morning service alongside King Charles III, Prince William and kids Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8 and Prince Louis, 5.

Leading up to that event, Kate had been busy with a variety of royal duties, such as hosting the Crown Princess of Sweden and Prince Daniel at Windsor Castle estate, prepping for her third annual Christmas carol concert and walking the red carpet at the Royal Variety Performance.

Then, on Jan. 17, Kensington Palace announced she had underwent a "planned abdominal surgery" and that she'd be recovering in hospital for 10 to 14 days, cancelling any public duties until Easter on March 31.

Since then, countless online theories about Kate and her whereabouts forced Kensington Palace to release a statement late February, reminding people "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." Earlier that month, the palace also shut down claims from a Spanish journalist that Kate's life was in "great danger" and she was put into an induced coma.

At the start of March, a photo of Kate's mom, Carole, driving an SUV with Kate in the passenger seat surfaced, though many people online claimed there was no way to identify the woman as the Princess of Wales.

The Associated Press issued a
The Associated Press issued a "photo kill" for a photograph of Kate and her three kids that Kensington Palace released on March 10. (Prince of Wales/Kensington Palace via AP)

This past Sunday to mark Mother's Day in Britain, the palace released a photo of Kate with her three kids, intending to calm the speculation that's been brewing. But shortly after, several news agencies pulled the photo, citing concerns over digital manipulation. It's a fiasco that forced Kate to apologize on social media the following day saying, "Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing."

That same day, Kate was photographed again leaving Windsor Castle in a car with Prince William for a private appointment. However, her face is turned away from the camera and, once again, created online rumours the person photographed isn't actually Catherine, Princess of Wales.

So, what exactly are people saying online about Kate Middleton and her whereabouts? Read on to learn about some of the speculation people on TikTok are sharing about the mystery.

Mother's Day photo: 'Everybody thinks it's Photoshopped'

  • The initial post on X, formerly known as Twitter, by @KensingtonRoyal was signed off with a camera emoji and "The Prince of Wales, 2024," intending to indicate Prince William shot the photo around that time, if not the same day.

  • Social media users noted there are things within the photo that "look a little weird," including an oddly-shaped skirt Princess Charlotte's wearing, some blurry areas, an almost-invisible line that seems to cut across the bottom of Kate's neck and several areas of distortion.

  • Some suggested Kate's face in this photo is from a Vogue cover photoshoot she did in 2016, though one expert said the claims are "absurd."

  • Kensington Palace has refused to release the unedited photograph, according to the Associated Press.

The other photos might also be edited

  • TikTok user @devotedly.yours alleged the latest photograph of Kate leaving Windsor Castle with William was likely edited, pointing out her face looks similar to that in a 2016 photo and the brick behind the car doesn't match up with that above the vehicle.

  • The user also suggested the first photo of Kate riding in the SUV with her mother was edited, with the tires seemingly being distorted.

  • Others believe the women being photographed are body doubles, with a few commenters on videos suggesting it might be Kate's sister, Pippa.

Health discrepancies

  • Some social media users are baffled that Kate can't release a video thanking people for their concern and proving she's OK if all she had was a "planned abdominal surgery."

  • That comes after people called out that the Princess of Wales had been able to wear heels and walk down a set of stairs for a press shoot hours after giving birth to her kids.

Kate is done

  • Some TikTok users have suggested Kate is "done" and no longer cooperating with Kensington Palace, amid rumours resurfacing around William's alleged affair with Rose Hanbury, Marchioness of Cholmondeley.

  • User @popapologists, who has created a multi-part series called "Where TF is Kate Middleton," shared some people believe the affair "never stopped."

  • "Doesn't it make sense? She's not getting on Zoom, she's not giving us that five seconds because she stopped cooperating," the TikToker said. "She is done."

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