A Social Commentary on the Kate Middleton 2024 News
Asia/Vibe/Celebs & Influencers

What the Whole Kate Middleton News Says About Society in 2024

640px Catarina Princesa Guilherme de Cambridge Photo by Wikicommons

The Internet is a vicious place, but that’s nothing new. However, the events surrounding Kate Middleton, her health, and her family have just proven how terrible it really is.

Social media is rife with trolls and bullies, but it’s astounding to see how callous people can be simply due to speculation. In many ways, speculation and gossip have been the backbone of this whole Internet hullabaloo.

On January 16, Kensington Palace publicly shared the news that Middleton had undergone planned abdominal surgery and would likely be unable to resume any of her usual duties until after Easter (March 31, 2024). The internet went abuzz, with crazy theories flying left and right.

When Middleton posted her infamous photo on March 10 – the one she claims to have Photoshopped herself and which received kill notices from Getty Images and AP News – conspiracy theories multiplied, and most were downright absurd. Some pretty intense narratives circulated too; others even claimed that Middleton had already died.

It doesn’t seem fair, though, that some people would think up all these stories. Kensington Palace had already announced that Middleton is unlikely to step out in public until April, so it seems pointless for conspiracy theories to pop up when there had already been news about her health.

Imagine going through surgery, wanting to take a few months to recuperate, and instead falling victim to people claiming you’d already died. And newspapers picked up on this, scrutinised the Prince and Princess of Wales even more closely, and made judgments while Kensington Palace chose to keep mum. From a PR perspective, that’s a difficult position to be in. Anything they say can be twisted and used against them, but keeping quiet only fuelled the speculation surrounding what the family – which involves three very young children, by the way – was undergoing.

If anything, this shows how much distrust people have for mainstream media. There’s been plenty of studies that suggest that people – in America and around the world – no longer trust news organisations as a whole. People also tend to search out information that coincides with their point of view, proving their biases.

As a celebrity, Middleton has also been described as an ideal topic for mainstream conspiracy. According to Caro Claire Burke, a journalist and TikTok creator, the Middleton affair is “low stakes, easy to obsess over, and endlessly iterative”.

“There’s no easier build-your-own adventure story than the one that can be built around a woman who is simultaneously famous and unknown,” shares Burke.

Beyond the speculation also came the jokes. Cruel memes online, comments from celebrities like Blake Lively and Kim Kardashian (as seen above). It was a strange way to piggyback off the Middleton misfortune, which people later learned was in fact caused by Middleton’s cancer diagnosis.

When the princess uploaded a video explaining her condition, there was an immediate outpouring of concern. Publications started writing about why so many young people were getting cancer, there was a public outcry for apologies, and people started to realise that maybe it wasn’t the best time to make fun of Middleton.

“[The news] came as a huge shock and William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family,” Middleton shared in the video. As would anyone, Middleton needed time to come to terms with the news and even inform her children – the eldest, 10, and the youngest, 5 – that she was sick.

While celebrities have apologised for their gibes, there is a less forgiving pattern in the comments section of the video she posted. While most people have expressed their disappointment in the media for how they cornered Middleton into coming out with a video, others have publicly claimed that the video itself is made using AI. While the wariness that people have over AI and deepfakes is warranted and valid in itself, it seems unfair to pursue this subject when Middleton revealed that she is going through a health issue while under global speculation.

Updates have yet to appear after Middleton’s announcement less than a week ago but if this is proof of anything it’s that one, speculation never helps and two, she and her family deserve the peace and privacy they deserve to get through this.

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