Palace slammed over 'very concerning' move after Kate's cancer diagnosis

A controversial decision made by the Palace weeks ago is now even more problematic in the wake of Kate's cancer announcement.

Kensington Palace has been slammed over the way they dealt with Kate Middleton's infamous Photoshop blunder while she was battling cancer.

PR expert Professor Kim Johnston believes that the Palace should have gone to greater lengths to protect Kate, knowing that she was dealing with a serious illness as well as intense public scrutiny.

The Princess of Wales, 42, shocked royal fans on Friday when she shared the news that she has been diagnosed with cancer following her "major abdominal surgery" in January. She revealed that while they believed the issue was non-cancerous, tests "found cancer had been present".

Kate Middleton
Social media has slammed the Palace for handling Kate Middleton's Photoshop scandal 'horribly' while she was battling cancer. Photo: Getty

Palace should have protected Kate from scrutiny

Professor Johnston from the Queensland University of Technology tells Yahoo Lifestyle Australia, "From a public relations (PR) perspective, I can understand that the Palace may have thought that letting Kate take responsibility and apologise for altering the photo would resolve the issue. Making an apology is a common and often effective crisis management response strategy used by organisations who take responsibility for a mistake.

"However in this case, it is not unexpected to predict that the altered photo, combined with the circumstances surrounding the Princess’ absence, would intensify media and public interest in this issue and in Kate’s condition."


Professor Johnston continues, "Today’s disclosure that Kate was dealing with a cancer diagnosis at this time is very concerning as the Palace should have taken a greater role in anticipating the response to the photo and the apology strategy, and at the very least, protected her from this level of scrutiny.

"I think most people who have heard about Kate’s diagnosis will look back on this situation with dismay and wonder how an institution like the Palace could allow this to get so out of hand."

Photoshop controversy

Kate and William shared a family portrait of the mother-of-three with their children on Mother's Day in the UK. However, eagle-eyed fans and experts quickly noticed several edits to the photo, which led to picture agencies around the world issuing a "kill notice" to publishers.

The Princess of Wales herself apologised, taking to her Instagram Stories to share an unprecedented statement that read, "Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing. I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion with the family photograph we shared yesterday caused."

Kate Middleton's Mother's Day image
Fans have been left shocked that the Palace let Kate take the blame for editing the now-viral Mother's Day photo when she was battling cancer. Photo: Instagram/princeandprincessofwales

This only fuelled unsubstantiated rumours about Kate's well-being, given she had barely been seen by the public since Christmas last year.

Palace's attempt to gain trust

Sources close to the family suggest the reason her diagnosis, which was detected during routine abdominal surgery, was kept from the public was to allow her to tell her children, George, Charlotte and Louis, at the right time.

Kate's announcement of her diagnosis was filmed by BBC Studios, and news agencies were informed that the video received "no edits."

TJ Thomson, visual media and communication expert at RMIT University said after the backlash over her Photoshopped photo, such a move was a wise choice to repair the trust with the public.

"The BBC is the most-trusted news brand in the UK, according to survey data. Nearly half of Britons trust it and it achieves this confidence, in part, by its clear and rigorously applied editorial values and standards," he told Yahoo Lifestyle Australia.

"By relying on a trusted and credible news organisation, like the BBC, to share this news, the royal family has wagered its message will be subject to less suspicion than when it released its own (covertly edited) vision earlier in the month."

Social media users slam the Palace

Social media users have been quick to blame Kensington Palace for allowing Kate to take responsibility for the Photoshopped image, saying they "handled it horribly."

"The only ones that should be taking responsibility for their actions is the Palace/PR team for how they aided in the spreading of misinformation about Kate’s whereabouts and blamed her for a s***ty Photoshop job," one user wrote.

"Kensington Palace really f***ed up their PR for Kate," another said. "How can you blame a bad Photoshop skill on a woman who is currently undergoing chemotherapy?? Also where is William in that video, shouldn’t he be there to support his wife who has cancer?"

"It just occurred to me that Buckingham Palace knew Kate had cancer and still threw her under the bus for the Photoshop business," a third said.

"This was a *Royal* f***up by the Palace comms team who *checks notes* threw a woman going through chemo under the bus for a Photoshop fail," someone else added.

"Just waiting for the British tabloids to accuse Meghan of being heartless for not helping Kate in her time of need like the Palace didn't just accuse her of 'working from home' and doing amateur Photoshop while undergoing chemo," one user added.

"Cancer sucks, and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy," another said. "I wish Kate a quick and complete recovery. That said, the palace has handled this poorly. Lying, and then Photoshop. There's an entire industry dedicated to stalking you. Don't feed their obsession with lies and fabrications."

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