Royal Mishap

Following months of unusual absence and media gossip, last Friday Princess Catherine of Wales, better known as Kate Middleton, announced her unfortunate cancer diagnosis. In Middleton’s time of need, the royal family seems to have thrown her to the wolves.

The handling of Kate Middleton’s cancer announcement exposes a systemic problem of the royal family mistreating women who marry in.

Middleton’s last public appearance before the cancer announcement was on Christmas Day last year. She was then taken to the hospital for a planned abdominal surgery. The surgery was a success, but the public noticed her husband, Prince William, was only seen visiting her in the hospital once.

On Jan. 26, Kensington Palace, Middleton’s London residence, announced that the princess had been discharged from the hospital, but she still wasn’t clearly photographed for more than a month. Then, the princess’ X account posted a photo of Middleton and her children on Mar. 10 for Mother’s Day in the U.K. The emerging rumors intensified when the picture received a “kill order” from journals like the Associated Press due to heavy image manipulation.

Internet users speculated about the princess hiding everything from a bad haircut to a botched Brazilian butt lift. More serious accusations also went viral, such as theories that Prince William had cheated on Middleton. If the palace was trying to avoid public scrutiny, they did the exact opposite.

The next day, Middleton’s X account released an apology for the photoshopped picture. Interestingly, the statement claims that Middleton herself edited the photo, a claim that has come under scrutiny. She is described as an “amateur photographer,” but her dissertation at the University of St. Andrews was on photography. One would think that in an institution as powerful and rich as the British monarchy, there would be an intern or something to do that job. 

By the time the public discovered Middleton’s cancer, announced via X on Mar. 22, the well-wishing was tempered. People wanted to know why the palace allowed a vulnerable  time for the Princess to be riddled with scandal. Her extended disappearance paired with the photoshopped pictures meant that even with confirmation of Middleton’s diagnosis, conspiracies still run rampant.

The royal family’s handling of the situation was disgraceful. Moreover, the lack of protection for the princess is illuminating a disturbing pattern in British royalty. 

Despite the royal family’s lackluster communication about Middleton’s situation, many argue Middleton could have been treated like Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex. Her identity, as a biracial woman, made her a target for journalistic racism, the New York Times found. She and her children faced alleged racism from the royal family, possibly including from Middleton herself, according to ABC News.

Even someone as popular as the late Princess Diana Spencer, often nicknamed “the people’s princess,” couldn’t escape abuse. Her experiences with the royal family before she left led to her developing depression, bulimia and caused multiple suicide attempts. Markle also experienced suicidal thoughts.

From Kate Middleton to Meghan Markle to Diana Spencer, British royalty comes off as hostile to women. It’s no wonder their approval ratings are dropping. If this aging institution won’t change, it’ll be left behind.

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