Kate Middleton: More fuss about the Princess of Wales after another wild weekend of rumours

Undeniably, Kate’s period of time away has been exacerbated by the King’s cancer diagnosis. Credit: PA

"Woman goes to farm shop where she may or may not have bought some fruit loaf."

It’s hardly a story that any of us should be interested in, let alone one that appears on the front page of a national newspaper.

But after another weekend of wild speculation and conspiracy online and on social media, a story about Kate visiting a farm shop in Windsor at the end of her driveway suddenly gets a lot of attention.

Perhaps you heard over the weekend that the palace was about to make a "big announcement" and that staff at the BBC had been briefed to prepare for it?

Perhaps you read more about Kate’s mother’s day photo: who took it, who edited it, what does it say about her condition?

Or did you watch clips on Twitter and TikTok about the state of William and Kate’s marriage and indulge in some rumours that have been circulating for some time?

On all these issues, we must take ourselves back to where we were pre-Mother’s Day photo.

And that is this: a woman in the public eye has a major operation; asks for privacy about the procedure; says she will need some considerable time off to recover.

And for the first month, that’s what the Princess of Wales got.

But it didn’t last.

We all acknowledge that Kate’s photo made things worse, and I’m sure, if she could turn back time, and issue an unedited photo instead, or not issue one at all, then she would.

William, pictured on Thursday, in his first public appearance since the royal photoshop saga. Credit: PA

But Kategate/photogate aside, we have a senior member of the Royal Family who has spent much of her adult life under the gaze of the world’s cameras, and she’s just asking for a few months of privacy to recover from surgery.

When Kate does return to work – be that at Easter, during the Easter holidays or after the schools return from the Easter break (in the case of George, Charlotte and Louis’ school that is April 17) – I’m told she will elaborate on her time away from public duties.

We will likely hear during one of her chats with the public or with someone from a charity that she’s come to support, what it has been like being sick and knowing the rampant clamour online for people to see a photograph or some kind of “proof of life”.

Kate may even choose to give some more details about the type of procedure she had.

If and when she does, according to a friend of hers, a lot of people are going to feel a lot of regret about the pressure Kate was put under to appear in public during her recovery.

The Princess of Wales has not officially been seen in public since December. Credit: PA

And they will, says this source, question why Kate had such a torrid time when she just wanted some time off to recuperate especially when people stop to remind themselves there is a young family at the heart of all this.

Undeniably, Kate’s period of time away has been exacerbated by the King’s cancer diagnosis and his inability to attend most public events.

Charles is finding that very frustrating according to palace insiders but he accepts he must do what’s best for his health and continue with his treatment, which most medics believe to be chemotherapy.

A once large Royal Family suddenly feels very small with only Queen Camilla and Prince William – out of the top tier - doing public engagements.

William and Kate are said to have had an incredibly tough time of it.

It is a precarious moment.

But they will get more firepower when the Princess of Wales returns to work. So, for now, she should take the time she’s been advised to take by her doctors.

This is the Royal Rota - our weekly podcast about the royal family, with ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship and Producer Lizzie Robinson.