Jokes about Kate Middleton’s disappearance prove to be in bad taste

Over the past few weeks, memes surrounding Catherine, Princess of Wales, otherwise known as Kate Middleton, have made their rounds on social media after her disappearance from the public eye. Some joked that Middleton left Prince William for Pete Davidson, others that she was the person underneath the “Unknown” mask at the failed Wonka experience in Glasgow. 

Actress and entrepreneur Blake Lively joined in on the jokes, releasing a promotional photo for her line of drinks “Betty Buzz” with her holding a can with a comically large thumb and a lemon floating above her. She ended her caption under the post with, “now you know why I’ve been MIA.”

However, many were surprised when Middleton publicly released her cancer diagnosis on March 22. She thanked people for the kind words but assured the public that now she and her family need privacy as she undergoes her treatments. 

Lively, as well as many other celebrities including Stephen Colbert, issued apologies to Middleton. Lively removed her post and replaced it with an acknowledgement of how she feels “mortified.” She ended the message by sending well wishes.

Meanwhile, Colbert issued a statement after going viral with a monologue about the rumors surrounding Middleton. He noted that he never wants to “make light of someone else’s tragedy.” 

Now, it is common for the internet to burst with memes surrounding inexplicable situations, especially when it comes to celebrities, but it seems this took things too far, as it was never hidden that Middleton was healing from a medical procedure. 

Between Jan. 16 and 17, it was announced that Middleton was hospitalized and received abdominal surgery. Then, after multiple events Prince William attended on his own and at one point even skipped for “personal reasons,” people started to ask questions. 

To ease worries, a spokesperson of Kensington Palace shared an update in which they reiterated that they, “made it clear in January the timelines of the princess’s recovery. [They] said [they’d] only be providing significant updates.” 

Despite all of this being made public, people still continued to apply pressure, and this is where the memes started to rise. There were also attempts at paparazzi photography as multiple blurry photos depicted either Middleton in a car or outside of the palace with her mother. No matter what answers the palace provided, or reassurances that all was well, the people wanted more.

This speaks to the fact that people don’t know how to act around celebrities. Rather than understanding that Middleton was not in a proper state to address the public, they kept pushing her until it was necessary to discuss her condition. Had a common person received abdominal surgery and stayed at home resting, no one would have invested this much energy into crafting theories or jokes at their expense.

This obsessive nature people develop when it comes to celebrities creates a lack of boundaries as they look to them as beyond human expectations. Because Middleton is the Princess of Wales, she becomes something superior to a regular person, and those who claim to love her place themselves in the midst of her troubles that have nothing to do with them. She already has plenty to worry about with younger children who have to understand what a cancer diagnosis means and what chemotherapy involves, on top of her duties as a royal. 

The Royal Family is just a family of regular people that happen to have titles of influence and stand in a spotlight. To make claims such as this and force Middleton to discuss an issue the public had no business in at the moment is to deny their humanity and thus their emotions. Middleton deserves all of these apologies and I hope she is able to heal alongside her family.


Featured photo courtesy of tsaiproject, Wikipedia