The truth about Kate Middleton's health reveals her true character

The absolutely heartbreaking news regarding Kate’s cancer diagnosis was delivered personally by her when it didn’t have to be. She was under no obligation to deliver it herself, yet she chose to. This demonstrates not only courage but her authenticity and relatability displayed her true character. It was admirable and touching while reassuring all.

Unless you’ve been either under a rock or on another planet since December, you have no doubt heard something about the international fascination regarding ‘where is’ and or ‘how is Kate’? When was the last time a really common first name was all that was needed to identify a princess in the midst of an international scandal? Kate is the most Googled name now in the U.S.; not Biden, not Trump, but Kate.

For those not privy to this firestorm, prior to this recent revelation as to her cancer diagnosis, even former President Trump and the White House have weighed in. After abdominal surgery, characterized by Kensington Palace as ‘routine’ despite a planned trip to Italy in March having to be rescheduled, speculation regarding the current state of Kate’s health has run rampant. Despite the announcement that she wouldn’t return to official royal duties until after Easter, social media has exploded with conspiracies regarding Kate’s real condition and actually, unfortunately as well as distastefully, whether she was even alive.

Indeed, during his recent GB News interview with British broadcaster Nigel Farage, the former Leader of the UK Independence Party and Leader of the Brexit Party questioned former President Trump about whether photoshopping is ever acceptable.

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The president responded, “Well, it shouldn’t be a big deal. Because everybody doctors [pictures], you look at these movie actors, and you see a movie actor and you meet them and you say, is that the same person in the picture?” Trump said. “And I looked at that [picture], actually, and it was a very minor doctoring. It is a rough period and, you know, they’re really going after her.”

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Trump was correct on all counts. Photoshopping is nothing new at all. It’s been prevalent throughout history, long before even painted portraits of monarchs and the advent of photography itself.

The issue at hand regarding Kate Middleton’s editingwas not so much the issue of editing as the release being ‘official’ from Kensington Palace and at a time when ‘how she looks’ and ‘how her health is depicted’ was of paramount importance.Her statement has put all speculation to rest. Back whenPrince Edward married Sophie in 1999, their official photo, taken bySir Geoffrey Shakerley,was photoshopped to insert a smiling laughing photo of Prince William, then 17, since the original didn’t depict him as looking ‘happy enough’. This was known at the time but there wasn’t the same international furor.

The difference today, both from that of history to this current scandal, is both the context of the release as well as the public scrutiny all photos receive, in addition to the availability ofdigital tampering software. Nowadays, with public trust of all institutions in question, on both sides of the Atlantic and indeed around the globe, such ‘deception’ is no longer acceptable. Authenticity is at a premium, the royal family, long accustomed to such editing, can no longer pass off such photos publicly.

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Kate Middleton apologizes for editing family photo Video

Roman sculptors, characterized their subjects with stylistic cycles idealizing elements. Emperors were concerned with legitimizing their authority or aligning themselves with revered predecessors rather than accuracy. For example, Emperor Augustus, born September 23, 63BCE—died August 19, 14CE leveraged his image to emphasize his powerful persona for Roman consumption.

Nor is such editing, with improvements being made, new to the British or other royals. It has been leveraged numerous times throughout history to depict events somewhat inaccurately, thereby manipulating public opinion.

Even in the Bayeux Tapestry,the embroidered cloth picturing events leading to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, led by William, Duke of Normandy challenging Harold II, King of England and culminating in the Battle of Hastings, hasHarold with an arrow in his eye but his death was ultimately due to being hacked to death by a knight as he lay on the ground.

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Henry VIII’s portraits were ‘updated’ almost as frequently as his wives. Meynnart Wewyck, a Dutch court painter concealed, amongst other things, his royal patrons tremendous weight gain. Victorian retouching process artists would re-touch photos with small blades to etch away any ‘imperfections’ on the negatives and paint over them before the final image was produced, this is known to have been used on photographs of Queen Victoria. Even in America,a famous image of President Lincoln that was circulated after his assassination features his head on a body that wasn’t even his.

FILE – Kate Middleton aka Catherine, Princess of Wales is seen here during a Diplomatic Corps reception at Buckingham Palace on December 6, 2022, in London. (Victoria Jones – Pool/Getty Images)

Then there’s the story of the famous portrait of Lincoln. In February of 1860, prior to delivering his Cooper Institute address, which later became famous for helping him secure the Republican presidential nomination, Lincoln had his portrait taken by Mathew Brady, whose New York studio was at Broadway and Tenth. The famous photographer delivered an ‘enhancement’ of Lincoln in a portrait for public dissemination. Such editing was inventive for its time. The resulting “photoshopped” version received such a rapturous reception that President Lincoln laterdeclared “Brady and the Cooper Institute made me President.”

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In the end, whether historically acceptable or not to attempt to manipulate public opinion via a doctored image, all leaders, politicians and royalty alike depend on the public trust. Once it’s lost, it is mighty hard to restore, but Kate has managed to do so in just over two minutes.

Kensington Palace is now leading the narrative. That isn’t easy in this day and age. Given the security breach regarding her medical records, the pressure on Kate and the palace has now intensified. Leaks have spiraled out of control and given more flame to fires of speculation.The resulting chaos has created unprecedented problems of perception as well as a loss of stature, being damaging to the royal image of excellence and propriety.

Kate Middleton’s photo scandal has only made circumstances for the royal family worse. (Max Mumby/Getty Images)

With Kate’s video, the global firestorm and social media frenzy has been quelled as this was a very proper statement regarding the situation, going a long way towards ameliorating further speculation. This contributes to Kate being left alone until the day she is expected to return to public duties, about April 17th, although she may choose to attend Easter services.

But in the end, no one can control the press, social media or the public. It’s a new era and not for the faint-hearted. Regardless of any previous mismanagement or path forward, Kate is now the most googled name on the planet. And that phenomenon isn’t going to go away.

While her diagnosis is sad, she was careful to give hope to others and to assure us she is well. Let us all also look to a positive to come out of this. Perhaps what Oscar Wilde said applies at this time, “There’s only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.” As a result, however distasteful and dispiriting, this episode and her statement has likely inadvertently may well have, perhaps inadvertently, contributed to the longevity of the monarchy. The British royals remain relevant and top of mind for a new generation in a rapidly changing world.

Hilary Fordwich is President, Strelmark, LLC, Business Development Consulting. English-born, she is a royal commentator and international keynote speaker. Fordwich currently resides in the U.S.

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