One newspaper says Prince William and Kate’s video should stop royal rumors. That is a difficult task

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LONDON (AP) — The late Queen Elizabeth II used to say that the royal family has to be seen to be believed.

This became evident when the absence of Kate, Princess of Wales, from public view sparked an escalating frenzy of savage violence. Speculation, skepticism and blatant conspiracy theories. powered by online armchair detectives.

It is unlikely to stop even though Kate and her husband Prince William were filmed in a farm shop near their home in Windsor – the first images of the 42-year-old princess since she was born. abdominal surgery for an unspecified condition two months ago.

The Sun newspaper put on its front page the message “It’s good to see you again, Kate!” and said she had decided to publish the images “in a bid to put an end to what the Palace has called the ‘social media madness’”.

But that probably won’t stem the tide of feverish and sometimes fantastic speculation that has swirled about the princess’s condition during her absence.

“The power and legitimacy of the monarchy comes from visibility,” said Anna Whitelock, professor of the history of monarchy at City University of London. “Visibility is the ‘contract’ between a monarch and his people.”

Proof of this is the constant flow of photographs of King Charles III meet with dignitaries and officials released by the palace since the monarch announced in February that he was being treated for an unspecified form of cancer. Charles’s relative candor about his diagnosis was a departure for the usually secretive royal family.

Kate hasn’t been as open or successful in controlling the narrative.

Palace officials gave few details about Kate’s condition beyond saying it was not related to cancer, that the surgery was successful and that recovery will keep Kate away from public duties until after Easter. That likely means she will be out of sight until her children return to school on April 17.

Experts who study conspiracy theories say the growing conjecture surrounding Kate isn’t all that different from how dozens of other “non-standard beliefs” gain momentum.

“The moment there is an information gap, people will fill it. And they can fill that space quite quickly… when we have such a rapidly changing media landscape,” said Simeon Yates, professor of digital culture at the University of Liverpool.

Speculation didn’t stop after William and Kate’s office at Kensington Palace released a photo of Kate and her children George, Charlotte and Louis on March 10 to coincide with Mother’s Day in the UK. The measure failed when The Associated Press and other news agencies removed the image from publication because it appeared to have been doctored, leading to even more speculation.

Although there was no suggestion that the image was fake, inconsistencies such as the alignment of Princess Charlotte’s left hand with the sleeve of her sweater suggested it had been altered.

Kate issued a statement acknowledging that he liked to “experiment with editing” and apologizing for “any confusion” the photo had caused.

The doctored photo sparked a new round of speculation, some of it centered on unsubstantiated theories that the image was not recent or that Kate had been photoshopped, along with even stranger claims.

The palace and the British government have tried to ignore the speculation but have occasionally had to respond. The British embassy in kyiv issued a statement Monday saying that “the news about the death of King Charles III is false,” after Russian media falsely reported the monarch’s death.

The video clip published by The Sun on Monday night appears to show William and Kate smiling as they walked together, carrying shopping bags. He said the images were taken on Saturday in Windsor, west London.

The Sun quoted Nelson Silva, who said he filmed the video, as saying: “Kate seemed happy and relaxed. “They seem happy to be able to go to a store and socialize.”

Kensington Palace had no comment on the video.

Yates said “Kategate” resonates because many people in the United Kingdom, the United States and around the world feel emotionally invested in the royal family, an institution that is both public and secret.

“There’s a lot of emotional excitement in thinking, ‘I know a secret is happening,'” he said. “It’s a pleasure to think, well, you know, ‘I know something special.’ It makes you feel better.”

Daniel Allington, who studies conspiracy theories at King’s College London, agreed that speculation about Kate is rooted in people’s emotional connection to the British royal family.

“That’s why they want to talk about them, they want to know about them, and when very little is known, people end up speculating. “They’re trying to make something out of nothing,” Allington said.

He also predicted that calming the international frenzy will not be an easy task.

“Once people start doubting, they can doubt almost everything. “Once people start speculating about the hidden truth, it is very difficult to get them off that path,” he said.

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