Verba Volant, Scripta Manent

The Hill News

Verba Volant, Scripta Manent

The Hill News

Verba Volant, Scripta Manent

The Hill News

Princess of Wales cancer announcement and the role of conspiracy theories

Media: Maggie Qi ’25

As the news coverage regarding Princess of Catherine of Wales’s whereabouts spiraled up in social media in the past few weeks, an official clarification video was released from the Princess, who is known by the public as Kate Middleton, explaining her “disappearance” from the public eye. However, rumors and conspiracies generated from intense speculations about her disappearance.  

Middleton’s last appearance in public was December 25, 2023, when she attended the royal family’s annual church service at Sandringham. She soon vanished in the eyes of the public until, in less than a month, Kensington Palace announced her abdominal surgery. During the major abdominal surgery in mid-January, doctors discovered the disease while doing follow-up tests.  

During her disappearance, numerous rumors regarding Middleton’s whereabouts were flowing on the internet—conspiracies ranging from more hilarious ones to more serious and believable ones. Twitter fostered speculations such as “there are Photoshop jobs of Kate holding hands with perpetual celebrity boyfriend Pete Davidson and jokes that Kate may be taking a spin on the reality show ‘The Masked Singer.’ Official accounts on Twitter like the Dublin Airport tweeted a photoshopped picture shading Cillian Murphy and Kate Middleton together.   

Millions of other speculations without evidence went viral on the internet, fooling the public into believing in some of them. When authorities like The Dublin Airport posted leading images, it was hard for general readers to not take their evidence into account. 

The mounting number of conspiracy theories regarding the Wales Royal called for plenty of attention, strangely. The reason behind the large amount of fake news came from people who wanted transparency.  

“In a constitutional monarchy where kings and queens wield little actual, but plenty of soft power, visibility is everything,” said Politico UK deputy editor Rosa Prince. People wanted a sound explanation for her disappearance since they have the power to open supermarkets and attend premieres. 

Conspiracy theories can play a significant role in misleading the public regarding uncertain and unpublished news. Making immediate and firm conclusions can greatly harm the protagonist of the news and trust amongst the public. Oftentimes, conspiracy theories generate divisions and evitable conflicts between people who are firm believers of the theory and others who think of theorists as delusional. 

 Most importantly, conspiracy theories can obscure reality. When there are too many convincing conspiracy theories out in public, it is unlikely for the public to believe the truth which may be seen as another piece of conspiracy. Other rumors about health and medical treatments can create severe consequences. False information on the effectiveness of certain medicines or vaccines can create epidemic outbreaks.  

Conspiracy theories significantly impact our daily lives, undermining trust, promoting division, and spreading misinformation. It is essential to prevent conspiracies from contaminating the public with sufficient reasoning and critical thinking before making a final decision. People should consider how conspiracies can potentially affect other’s feelings not only in the Hill community but also in the broader society. 

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