Kate Middleton Online Conspiracy Theories Reportedly Linked to Russian Based Disinformation Campaign 765

Catherine, Princess of Wales.
Karwai Tang/WireImage

Prior to Princess Kate Middleton’s public announcement of her cancer diagnosis, the internet was flooded with conspiracy theories regarding the status of her health. Some of the speculation has since been linked back to a Russian-based disinformation campaign, recent reports reveal.

Martin Innes, a digital disinformation expert working at Cardiff University in Wales, told The New York Times on Wednesday March 27, that 45 social media accounts posting claims about Kate, 42, could be linked to a disinformation network that posted pro-Russia and anti-Ukraine content.

“It provokes an emotional reaction,” Innes told the newspaper. “The story was already being framed in conspiracy terms, so you can appeal to those people. And people who support the royal family get angry.”

Innes’ research seemingly pointed to the Russian disinformation operation which has come to be known as Doppelgänger. The NYT reported that, since 2017, Doppelgänger “has been linked to the creation of fake websites that impersonate actual news organizations in Europe and the United States.”

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This report comes days after U.K.’s The Telegraph reported on March 24 that China, Russia and Iran were “fueling disinformation” about Prince William’s wife in a plot to “destabilize the nation.”

Kate Middleton Online Conspiracy Theories Reportedly Linked to Russian Based Disinformation Campaign 766
Samir Hussein/WireImage

Kensington Palace announced in January that Kate had undergone a planned abdominal surgery and wouldn’t be returning to her public-facing duties until after Easter. Royal family watchers started speculating about the state of Kate’s health in the wake of the news.

She was first spotted out in early March while driving in a car with her mother, Carole Middleton. After two subsequent public outings and feverish global attention, Kate addressed her disappearance in a video shared worldwide on March 22.

“In January, I underwent major abdominal surgery in London, and at the time, it was thought that my condition was noncancerous. The surgery was successful, however, tests after the operation found cancer had been present,” she said in the video, which was recorded at Windsor Castle. “My medical team therefore advised that I should undergo a course of preventative chemotherapy, and I’m now in the early stages of that treatment.”

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Princess Kate Middleton sent shockwaves around the world when she announced her cancer diagnosis in a March 22 video statement. “In January, I underwent major abdominal surgery in London, and at the time, it was thought that my condition was noncancerous,” the Princess of Wales, 42, said. “The surgery was successful, however, tests after the […]

The Princess of Wales and mother of Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis went on to say that she’s “well” and “getting stronger every day” with the help of her family.

“Having William by my side is a great source of comfort and reassurance too, as is the love, support and kindness that has been shown by so many of you. It means so much to us both,” Kate added. “We hope that you’ll understand that as a family, we now need some time, space, and privacy while I complete my treatment. My work has always brought me a deep sense of joy, and I look forward to being back when I’m able. But for now, I must focus on making a full recovery.”