Misinformation, rumours swirl as British royals attempt to reignite public trust

Source: TMZ

In her first public appearance since the ill-fated Mother’s Day Photoshop scandal, the Princess of Wales has been spotted visiting a nearby grocer in Windsor looking “happy, relaxed and healthy”.

Accompanied by her husband the Prince of Wales, William and Kate were in the bread aisle at the Windsor Farm Shop on March 16 when they were spotted by customer Nelson Silva, who then filmed the pair walking along a footpath to the car park.

Splashed with the logo from US gossip website TMZ, and with a joint credit to London tabloid The Sun, the vision immediately went viral.

Amid wild speculation Kate’s face had been swapped out of her Mother’s Day photo for an earlier shot and that she was too unwell to appear in photos or in public – or had disappeared off the face of the Earth – TMZ said it had “delved into the metadata” of the video to conclude “there’s no doubt … it’s a legitimate video”.

The Sun reported she’d been spotted watching their children, George, 10, Charlotte, eight, and Louis, five, play sport earlier that day, while The Times’ royal editor told Good Morning Britain she had been seen on the school run last week.

“I didn’t feel like they were hiding who they were. But they didn’t quite know how people would react because there has been this build up about their whereabouts and I got the sense they just wanted to be swift in there,” Silva told The Sun.

“Kate looked happy and relaxed. They look happy just to be able to go to a shop and mingle. Kate looked relieved like it was a success going to a shop. It felt natural.”

Despite these first steps back into public life after an extended leave of absence following planned abdominal surgery in January, royal watchers remain sceptical about the authenticity of the vision.

“This video will satisfy literally no one. The palace doesn’t understand online culture at all if they think people won’t just assume this is a Kate Middleton double,” wrote another.

In a second royal retouching controversy, a photo of Queen Elizabeth with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, taken by Kate and released by Kensington Palace last year, is now under scrutiny.

Getty Images said it has been “digitally enhanced,” and a CNN analysis found signs of alteration in as many as 19 places, the US news agency reported.

The rumoured Buckingham Palace announcement

Over the weekend unverified reports emerged on social media that the BBC was told to be on high alert for an announcement from the royal family.

Was Kate Middleton stepping away from official duties altogether?

Is Prince William set to become Regent under the current UK Regency Act rules where he assumes the role of King amid his father’s ongoing cancer treatment?

No BBC breaking news arrived, but it didn’t stop the speculation when another viral TikTok video showed vision of the flag at Buckingham Palace flying at half mast (turns out it was from September 2022).

The British Embassy in Ukraine was forced to deny rumours the King had died after Kremlin-approved state media channels, some with millions of followers on social media, began spreading fake news stories.

The Independent reported Tass, the Russian government-owned news agency, reported it spoke to Buckingham Palace, which confirmed the King “continues to perform work duties and attend to private affairs”.

Too late. That story also went viral.

William and Kate have set up home in Adelaide Cottage in Windsor’s Home Park. Photo: Getty

Friends say Kate may speak about her health on public engagements but so far details of her condition have been kept private.

The Sunday Times says those close to Kate and William say the couple will disclose more information about her recovery in due course.

The Times also said the couple intends to continue releasing photographs marking their children’s birthdays after Kate’s apology, admitting she edited family photos.

Prince Louis turns six on April 23 and sources close to the couple told The Times no “firm decision” has been taken yet on whether Kate will be behind the camera.

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