Veteran Publicist Breaks Down How The Royal Family's Statements Are 'Evidence' That 'Something Happened' To Kate Middleton

McPherson sees "engineering" and "machinations" in the Middleton statements.

Kate Middleton B. Lenoir / Shutterstock

The speculation about what exactly is going on with Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales, has only continued to grow the more time passes and the less the royal family and Kensington Palace have said about it. 

But in a recent TikTok, veteran crisis PR executive and professor Molly McPherson explained what the palace has chosen to say, as well as its approach to other stories about the royals and their associates, is very revealing.


McPherson said the royal family's cagey statements are 'evidence' that 'something happened' to Kate Middleton.

The question of Middleton's whereabouts has given way to full-on conspiracy theories online — some of them joking, like the one that says she's hiding while she grows out bad bangs or recovering from a Brazilian butt lift.

Others are more dramatic, like the ones that say she's in a coma following her "planned abdominal surgery," that she's experiencing a mental health episode, or that she's been a victim of domestic abuse at the hands of Prince William.

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But one thing is for certain: The royal family and Kensington Palace's reticence on the matter — along with a questionable photo recently released that purportedly shows Middleton alive and well — has done little to quash the perception that they are hiding something about Middleton's condition.

In a recent TikTok, McPherson called this situation "a case study" in "what an institution does when they want to protect information," and said the palace's approach is very revealing. 


McPherson called the palace's statements and media placements about Kate Middleton and Prince William 'engineering' and 'machinations.'

McPherson said the best approach to crisis PR is to always be as direct as possible. "So when I spot engineering, machinations, it always interests me."



McPherson began her analysis of these "engineering and machinations" with the palace's first statement about Middleton on January 17. "I'm always looking for language," she said, "because language often tells us the intent."

She highlighted the palace's careful stipulation that Princess Kate's surgery was "planned," and that she would not be back to regular royal activity until after Easter.


But most telling, McPherson said, was the palace's acknowledgment that "the Princess of Wales appreciates the interest this statement will generate," and their appeal for privacy from the public.

To McPherson, this all reads as a clear and revealingly uncharacteristic move by the palace to be "so super strategic that they're now managing expectations" as if subtly warning the public ahead of time. 

But crucially, the statement also implied that there would be no further information about Middleton until Easter, which is not at all what has happened. 



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"Something is throwing them off course," McPherson theorized, because not only did the palace issue a new statement on January 29, a full two months before Easter, but McPherson said that statement "seems to indicate that something happened."

Not only does it address — or, you could say, dignifies with a response — the wild speculation about Middleton's whereabouts, but it goes on to pointedly reconfirm there will be no further updates before Easter. In short, "that statement is a double down," McPherson said.

Since that statement dropped, we have also been served the supposed paparazzi photo of Kate Middleton driving that appeared on TMZ. Many have theorized it is actually a photo of her sister Pippa Middleton. 



McPherson pointed out 'two other media moments' that seem suspicious given the uproar over Middleton. 

Recent stories about Prince William and King Constantine of Greece also indicate something serious is amiss with Middleton.


There has been much speculation about Prince William not attending, due to "a personal matter," the memorial service for King Constantine of Greece, who passed away in January at 82 of a stroke. The king was a cousin of the late Prince Philip, Prince William's grandfather.



Prince William's absence is hard to square unless something major is going on. King Constantine was not just a relative but also the Prince's godfather, and his memorial was held not in Greece but at Windsor Castle, an hour's drive from William and Kate's residence at Kensington Palace.

Shortly thereafter, yet another story appeared in the media, and McPherson's take makes this one seem like the most telling of all.

McPherson said the timing and coverage of close royal family associate Thomas Kingston's death by suicide is even more revealing. Immediately after King Constantine's memorial, "we get the story of Thomas Kingston, husband of Lady Gabriela Windsor, connected to the royal family," McPherson said.


Lady Gabriela Windsor, 42, is also a relative of the royal family, the daughter of one of late Queen Elizabeth II's cousins, Prince Michael of Kent. Her husband Kingston, meanwhile, was Kate Middleton's sister, Pippa Middleton's, ex-boyfriend.

Kingston's death has been painstakingly reported on by the British press — which, it's important to remember, has close relationships with the royal family — in what McPherson called "great detail," from descriptions of the head wound he died from to the minutiae of both Kingston's and his parents' day prior to his suicide.

"The detail here is so explicit in its trauma," McPherson said, "and it is a stark, stark difference to what we're hearing from Kensington Palace." And to a veteran like McPherson, the palace's "crisis management message" and attempts at diversion are clear. 


"While everyone is being fed the story of [Lady Gabriela]," McPherson said, "now we have Kensington Palace who is trying to tell everyone that everything is fine with Kate," even at the same time that "we're getting a lot of information about King Charles" and his cancer struggle.

Taken all together, it's hard not to get the impression that the royal family's spokespeople are painstakingly avoiding giving any information about Middleton while actively attempting to divert the public's attention to other stories. 



And it definitely doesn't seem to be fooling anyone. If anything the palace's reticence has only made it seem that much more obvious that something is definitely up with Kate Middleton.


Or, as McPherson aptly put it, "the communication lesson [is]... if you do not tell your story, someone will write it for you."

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.