We Forced Kate Middleton to Share Her Cancer Diagnosis With the World

But here’s the thing. We live in an age of an internet so prone to conspiracy theories, so unwieldy, and so used to finding hidden meanings in everything that it seems almost anything can make it spin out of control. All it took was a few self-proclaimed “royal watchers” on social media to declare in January and February that it was somehow suspicious that Kate was doing exactly what she had said she was going to do, and people started to latch on.

The #WhereIsKate train wasn’t built upon actual facts or, really, anything untoward that Kate did or did not do. It was just another example of how, as I said in an earlier story, we have become trained to scrutinize and pick apart the lives of celebrities for sport. From horrific true crimes like the Moscow Murders, which have been memed and analyzed to death on social media, to the Amber Heard trial, to lighter phenomenons like Taylor and Travis—once an event hits that certain internet livewire, it sparks out of control.

That’s what happened with Kate’s alleged “disappearance.” Once it went viral, there was no stopping it. People wanted to engage with the conspiracy theories, not because they necessarily believed them, but because it’s fun to engage in the big gossip of the day, fun to make the memes, fun to be in on the joke. Social media is one big group chat, where we pick apart people’s lives and problems, large or small, and enjoy one-upping each other with how ridiculous we can get.

And that’s fine if it’s about something inconsequential, or if it’s not about a real person who is actually suffering greatly. But in this case, it’s been clear from the beginning that both these things were not at play. Kate very plainly asked for what should be a simple thing: privacy. Something that any human being, regardless of title or fame, should be allowed to have.

Instead, the internet conspiracy machine made a mockery of what she now says was and continues to be one of the hardest times of her entire life.

“This of course came as a huge shock, and William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family,” she said. “As you can imagine this has taken time.”

Sois everyone going to stop now? Are we going to take a step back and realize that these internet games we play affect real people and their real lives? Or are we just going to pick a new target?

“We hope that you’ll understand that as a family we now need some time, space, and privacy while I complete my treatment,” she said at the end of the video.

Let’s hope everyone lets her.

Stephanie McNeal is a senior editor at Glamour and the author of Swipe Up for More! Inside the Unfiltered Lives of Influencers.

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