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Brianna Parkins: Where is Kate Middleton? The people demand, but are not entitled, to know

We already have a plausible explanation for Princess Kate’s absence from UK public life: she’s playing drums with Slipknot

Where is Kate Middleton? She hasn’t been seen in 70 days beyond an apparent Monday sighting in a car with her mother. The people demand to know. But the bigger question is not what Kate (that’s Catherine, Princess of Wales to you) is up to; it’s why we feel so entitled to an answer.

Especially since we already have one – the royal powers-that-be told us she’s out sick and that’s all she wanted to tell us about her health condition. In the meantime we’d hear nothing until there was “significant new information to share”.

“So you can all rack off in the meantime,” is what they didn’t say but you could feel it there at the end of the official statement in spirit.

Last weekend, for a brief moment at least, the social media platform formerly known as the artist Twitter reverted to what we used to know and love about it. To distract us from the darkness, it once again became a place everyone visits to pass snippy but genuinely hilarious comment on just how ridiculous modern life can be. This was thanks to two simultaneous phenomena.


The first was a Willy Wonka “immersive” experience which promised, for just a €40 fee, entry to a place where “dreams become reality”. But only if your dream was a bouncy castle in a undecorated Glasgow warehouse, a quarter of a can of lemonade and an actor hiding behind a cupboard mirror jumping out in between texting her mum that it had all “gone wrong”. The internet reacted accordingly, with memes of a hired Oompa Loompa with a thousand-yard stare captioned “how your email finds me” rocketing across the world.

Which dovetailed perfectly into the hysterical foot-stomping over the location of the Princess of Wales that was playing out in the usual places. The internet is at its best when it holds up a mirror to how ridiculous humans can be and it does that with funny posts.

The internet turned conspiracy theories about comas, divorce, drug addiction and secret doppelgängers on their head with its own brand of unhinged satire. Instead, it was suggested, Catherine was taking time off to recover from a Brazilian Butt Lift. While we can understand why the surgery is favoured by Love Island-esque influencers flogging gym leggings, it’s harder to see how it’s useful to a woman whose job it is partly to turn up to the opening of various infrastructure in a nice coat and wave.

If it wasn’t a BBL recovery, she was laying low growing out an ill-advised fringe. She had a double life as Banksy and also the drummer for metal band Slipknot. She “had binned” the royal family and was touring Britain in a converted Transit van in one post. But a user named Kristin Mulrooney had the most convincing and very wholesome explanation: “My three kids are roughly the same age as Kate Middleton’s so I can say pretty confidently that she is hiding in the bathroom pretending to pee for a really long time.”

Whether she’s recovering from surgery or reading these posts on the loo in peace, her appropriate response to the demands to know what she’s up to is “nunya”. As in “none ya business”. This is the classic and dignified Australian response to people sticky-beaking (sticking their beaks into) matters that don’t concern them.

“But parts of her life are funded by taxpayers, she’s technically a public servant!” Yes, and public servants get sick leave. Good luck in dealing with their union if you encroach on that entitlement.

We are nosier than ever thanks to the steady diet of media consumption built on the 2000s era of intrusive paparazzi and celebrity gossip but then made worse by the expectant voyeurism of social media.

If a girl from our hometown changes her profile picture from one of her and her husband to a selfie with a few vague quotes about “loving yourself first”, we are six scrolls deep in her feeds trying to figure out if a divorce is imminent. We haven’t seen him since their summer holiday to that all-inclusive in Tenerife. That’s what you get for booking a 7am flight. Relationship damage.

In our determination to mind everyone’s business but our own we have forgotten, bar very few cases, that we are not entitled to strangers’ private medical information. This isn’t even the first time Kate Middleton has “gone missing”. Back in 2021 when headlines read “Kate Middleton hasn’t been seen in public for 60 days”, a Today Show host asked, “We’re all wondering, has the Duchess of Cambridge disappeared?”

Turns out she hadn’t. Nor was she having a fourth baby in secret. Slipknot were touring Europe that year, however, so that still remains a plausible explanation.