Anton Savage: Kate Middleton has been badly let down by her communications team

23rd Mar 2024
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Originally published in the Business Post.

The toxic deluge of gossip that was allowed to develop around an ill woman need never have developed

If you’re a public figure undergoing intensive, intrusive and exhausting medical treatment, it is entirely reasonable for you to expect privacy. And it is entirely reasonable to expect that your advisors should be able to facilitate that privacy.

In Kate Middleton’s case, both those expectations came to naught. For weeks, her ‘people’ allowed a caustic gossip-circle to flourish. Worse, they poured fuel into it. The photoshopped pictures, the weird statements, the inexplicable quasi-public appearances caught by the paparazzi; it was as if it was designed to make her the subject of international fascination.

It was particularly problematic because everyone with a tither of wit kept saying “this makes no sense. If she is sick, they just have to say that and this ends. Yet they are falling over themselves to avoid the easy and immediate solution to their problem. The only possible inference is that something is afoot”.

They created the vacuum into which a multitude was sucked. Questions about her marriage, questions about her physical and mental health, questions about possible cosmetic surgery, possible affairs.

All of it was as spurious as it was unnecessary. All that was required was what was delivered on Friday. In fact, that was too much. The curious public didn’t need a detailed statement, they didn’t need an ill woman to have to gather herself together to deliver a three minute monologue to camera covering the achingly private aspects of her diagnosis and recovery, and the impact of both on her family. They just needed a simple answer to the question ‘is she okay?’

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