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Kate’s health: why the British press is so respectful of the royal family’s silence

Princess Kate, who had surgery in mid-January, has not been seen in public since Christmas. Speculation is increasing on social networks. But the British press continues to be very cautious and, above all, very respectful of Kensington’s silence.

But where has Kate gone? Although the Princess of Wales has not been seen in public since December 25 and underwent a mysterious surgical operation in January, Internet users are increasingly speculating about her health, sometimes even if it means falling into theories of conspiracy.

William’s absence for “personal reasons” at the mass in memory of his godfather Constantine of Greece on Tuesday only compounded the mystery. The British tabloid press, which usually quickly locates the royal family, sticks to the scant information distilled by Kensington Palace. “The Princess of Wales is ‘fine’,” indicates the Daily Mail, relaying a “royal source.”

A desire for discretion

Since the announcement of Kate’s operation on January 17 and the concomitant announcement of King Charles’ prostate operation, the media has stayed away from the royal family’s private life. “The media is very respectful, and even the hospital staff, no one says anything,” noted Thomas Pernette, a journalist for Point de Vue magazine, on the Royal Podcast in early February. “Not a single indiscretion has been leaked.”

“The press has obviously been instructed to say as little as possible,” analyzes Marc Roche, royal columnist for Le Point, based in London.

“The Princess of Wales appreciates the interest this statement will generate, but hopes that the public understands her desire to maintain some form of normality for her children and her wish for their personal medical information to remain private,” Kensington insisted in her statement. of press.

These instructions apply to Princess Kate, but also to King Charles. In an intelligent exercise of transparency, the king communicated some details of her state of health, such as the reasons for his surgery in January and then his cancer. But he did not want to indicate what type of cancer it was, or what treatment he would follow.

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A form of tacit agreement

Shortly before the announcement, on February 5, journalists received a kind of report explaining that the palace had been transparent but would not go into further detail. Thus, a kind of tacit agreement is produced between the press and the royal family that stipulates, for example, that they should not wait for Charles III to leave the hospital or try to contact him. your doctors.

Everyone seems to respect this agreement. Even the Sun, which revealed the hospitalization of Queen Elizabeth II in 2021, also sticks to the “Kate is fine” distilled by Kensington.

“Newspapers do not want to isolate themselves from the public,” says Marc Roche. “It’s not certain that the public wants to know what Kate is suffering from. They don’t really know how to handle it.

“Public pressure is important,” adds Philip Turle, international columnist for France 24. “The tabloid press, which has often gone too far in gathering information, fears criticism.” Result, “everyone plays the game.”

Prince Harry’s recent trial against the press group that publishes the Daily Mirror revealed the tabloids’ methods of obtaining information about him: practices ranging from hacking phone messages to the use of private detectives.

“The royal family has the right to respect for its private life, and Kate has the right to live quietly and privately during her convalescence from an obviously very serious operation, having been hospitalized for almost 15 days,” said royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams.

Variable geometry transparency

The royal observer, however, considers “very revealing” of the evolution of royal communication the fact that the king has provided some information about his health, which is not the case with Kate.

Kensington Palace simply announced on January 17 that the princess had undergone “scheduled abdominal surgery” and would remain hospitalized for between 10 and 14 days. On the same day, Buckingham announced King Charles’ upcoming hospitalization for a benign prostate procedure.

Treated the following week at the same clinic as Kate, the king left on January 29 arm in arm with Camilla, greeting the public and journalists as he passed. The same day, Kensington announced Kate’s departure, returning home with her utmost discretion.

Prince William visited Princess Kate, hospitalized after abdominal surgery, on January 18, 2024 in London.
Prince William visited Princess Kate, hospitalized after abdominal surgery, on January 18, 2024 in London. © Henry Nicholls – AFP

Referring on February 5 to the variable geometric transparency of the actual communication, the Times estimated that this “could give rise to unwanted speculation.”

This is true regarding the state of health of the Princess of Wales, since the wildest theories circulate on social networks. “Not everyone is convinced that Kate is ‘fine,'” she says, for example. The cutcollecting some of the funniest messages posted on X.

“It will be interesting to see in the coming weeks if and how coverage of Kate’s recovery evolves as her disappearance becomes increasingly difficult for the institution to ignore. This is something we should be concerned about as rumors abound,” analyzes accurately. an internet user in X.

Her environment, however, continues in its line, according to Page Six, which quotes “a spokesperson for the princess”: “Kensington Palace was very clear in January about the princess’s recovery time and about the fact that “We would only provide meaningful information. This course of action remains relevant today.” Kate is currently not expected to reappear until Easter, a month from now.

Author: Magali Rangin
Source: BFM TV

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