The mystery surrounding Kate Middleton has left both royal fans and experts with question marks. When it was made clear that the Princess of Wales’ Mother’s Day picture was manipulated, conspiracy theories about her health—and even marriage to Prince William—spread across the internet, making the situation even more strange.

On Monday, a video picturing Kate visiting the Windsor Farm Shop was released to the world, and the future queen appears to be doing well. Even so, after the manipulated picture, some are still doubtful, while others see it as a great sign that she will soon be back to her royal duties.

The rumors about Kate Middleton’s health have been ongoing ever since her abdominal surgery was announced in mid-January. A royal expert is demanding an end to the “appalling” speculations. 

When Kensington Palace announced that Kate Middleton underwent a “planned abdominal surgery” in mid-January, royal fans were left in shock. Not only did the future queen undergo surgery, but at the same time, King Charles got treatment for an enlarged prostate, which later turned out to be a cancer diagnosis.

Kate Middleton apologized for edited Mother’s Day picture

The palace has only offered the public minor updates on her recovery, and in the last weeks, the mystery surrounding her health has grown by the minute.

First, American news outlet TMZ published the first picture of Kate taken after the surgery. On Mother’s Day, the first official photo reached the public through the Prince and Princess of Wales’ social media outlets. However, it ended badly; some might even say it was a scandal.

The picture turned out to have been manipulated, and just a day after it was published, the Princess of Wales apologized.

“Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing. I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused. I hope everyone celebrating had a very happy Mother’s Day. C,” Kate said through the Prince and Princess of Wales’ social media platforms.

It took only a few hours for photography experts and social media users to begin analyzing the picture, finding several errors and examples of bad editing.

Several news agencies, including the Associated Press and Getty, sent a “kill notice” (an advisory notice to remove or not use a specific photo).

Kensington Palace ‘no longer a trusted source,’ news agency director says

Another news agency that used a “kill notice” was the well-renowned Agence France-Presse (AFP). Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Media Show, Phil Chetwynd, AFP’s global news director, said that Kensington Palace is no longer a trusted source.

“No, absolutely not. Like with anything, when you’re let down by a source the bar is raised … We sent out notes to all our teams at the moment to be absolutely super more vigilant about the content coming across our desk — even from what we would call trusted sources,” he said, as reported by Deadline.

On social media, conspiracy theories about Kate Middleton spread shortly after her surgery. Some argued it wasn’t an abdominal surgery, while others claimed her marriage to Prince William was the real reason for her absence.

As Kate admitted to having edited the Mother’s Day picture herself, the conspiracy theories grew more extensive, and the fact that Kensington Palace didn’t respond by sharing the original image didn’t help.

While Kate Middleton has received most criticism, some experts say she isn’t to blame. Royal expert Hilary Fordwich told Fox News that the palace is responsible for what she calls “yet another public relations disaster.”

“The certainty is that a ‘slimmed down monarchy’ means fewer are guiding the royals and those who are aren’t as media savvy as they need to be,” Fordwich said. “In our fast-paced world with tech-savvy media outlets, the palaces need to hire the best and brightest in such fields.”

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Although Kate had to apologize, the royal expert pointed out that Kate Middleton showed “integrity.”

“While this certainly isn’t ‘business as usual’ nor what we would expect from a royal household… it shows great humility to admit one’s mistakes,” Fordwich continued. “Others might have either remained silent or tried to blame another. Kate issued a straight-up, no-nonsense apology. Many could learn a lesson from such.”

Royal expert says Kate Middleton made an “honest mistake”

Royal expert and author Tom Bower took it a step further, accusing the palace of not protecting Kate at all.

He said that the Princess of Wales isn’t surrounded by wise people and that the picture should have been handled by professional staff at Kensington Palace.

“People around the world just want to bring her down because it gives them pleasure. And then, when she did, they should have got a professional photographer in to make sure there were no hiccups like has now occurred,” Bower told The Sun.

He continued: “She’s undergone the most very serious operation imaginable. She needs a long time to recover. And I fear that she has been under terrible pressure to perform and instead of protecting her, her staff in Kensington Palace, failed to give her the support and protection she needs.”

Tom Bower concluded that Kate Middleton made an “honest mistake,” which isn’t a big deal. He advised the royal family not to release any more pictures and instead focus on helping Kate fully recover.

Kate Middleton
Charlotte Graham-WPA Pool/Getty Images

While Kensington Palace appears to be doing its best not to release any information about Kate—and refusing to release a new picture of her to calm royal fans—during the weekend, Kate was captured on video.

Royal expert brands speculations about Kate Middleton’s health “appalling”

American news outlet TMZ – who published the first picture of Kate after her surgery – released a video showing Kate and William visiting Windsor Farm shop, a business about a mile from their Adelaide Cottage home. According to TMZ, the video was taken on Saturday.

A visitor to the farm told The Sun, “After all the rumours that had been going round, I was stunned to see them there. Kate was out shopping with William, and she looked happy and well.”

The witness added, “The kids weren’t with them but it’s such a good sign she was healthy enough to pop down to the shops.”

As mentioned, some have argued that the Princess of Wales shouldn’t be blamed for the critical situation.

In late January, only weeks after her surgery, royal expert Richard Eden stated that pressuring Kate into giving updates could come across as “bullying.” Royal author Angela Levin now blasts speculations about Kate Middleton’s health, saying that the public is “rude and unkind.”

“The public are so rude, so unkind and so demanding, it is as if they own her and as if they bought her. I think it’s an absolutely appalling way to behave towards someone who’s been so dignified and dutiful. You couldn’t expect more of her as a mother,” Levin told GB News.

Kate Middleton

“You can see her children adore her and as an heir to the throne, she adores William, so leave her alone. I think it’s just appalling. She doesn’t want the children to know what she’s had. I think any mother would feel the same,”.

Prince William and Kate Middleton’s friends left ‘shocked’

Levin added that since Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis are “old enough to know what is happening,” it has become a significant problem.

“I’ve also had someone quite close to Kate who says to me she has given someone a kidney; it has nothing to do with her illness. I have no idea whether or not this is true. It does leave you very languid and not well. I don’t know if it’s that because she did seem to be great until she went into the hospital.”

Angela Levin concluded, “I’m not saying that is what it is and I haven’t had it proven in any way, but it makes more sense to me than other things that people have been saying.”

The manipulated picture Kate posted on Mother’s Day contained several editing mistakes. However, the fact that she didn’t wear her wedding ring left many worried, including the Prince and Princess of Wales’ friends.

Kate Middleton, Prince William
Shutterstock/Shirley Preston

A friend of Kate and William told the Daily Beast that many in their friends’ group were “completely baffled” that Kate posted the picture without wearing the wedding ring.

“The relationship has always seemed incredibly strong”

Mainly because it is “guaranteed to get people asking questions about the state of the marriage.”

“They are often seen together at school events, and really it is remarkable how one and often both of them will always be at every match, every music concert and every prize giving,” the friend said.

“The relationship has always seemed incredibly strong despite the immense pressure they are under, so it’s fair to say we were all completely baffled when the picture came out with the wedding ring missing, especially as it was photoshopped. It just seemed guaranteed to get people asking questions about the state of the marriage.”

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