‘Missing’ Kate Middleton Memes Highlight The Monarchy’s Uselessness

Lifestyle

Right now, as I write this, it’s clear that something is very, very wrong within the Royal Family.

To recap: following a hastily issued announcement back in January that she would be having abdominal surgery, the Princess of Wales, Kate Middleton, has not been seen in public, prompting wild speculation on the internet about her whereabouts. In response to the conspiracy theories, the Royal Family released a photograph of the princess and her three children for British Mother’s Day, which was quickly discovered to be digitally altered, prompting news outlets to retract the photo and thus magnify the situation at least a hundredfold. Kate’s subsequent explanation — “Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing,” she wrote on her X accounts — did not do them any favors, as the likelihood of a member of the Royal Family having an Adobe Photoshop account, let alone knowing what it is, is probably slim to none.

Kate’s absence from public life has prompted a slew of criticism from Royal watchers, many of whom have used the Palace’s Benny Hill-esque fumbling of the situation as a peg to discuss the irrelevance, hypocrisy, and corruption of the monarchy. Faced with a PR crisis without any real precedent, and unable to silence the usually malleable British press, the Palace has responded in basically the worst way possible, refusing to adopt any semblance of transparency or accountability toward the public, even when the situation so clearly demands it (and that arguably applies doubly if Kate is, in fact, in significant danger or in extremely poor health, as some have speculated). With Queen Elizabeth II dead and King Charles battling prostate cancer, #Kategate has raised extremely valid questions about the long-term viability of the monarchy, and why a small group of inbred Britons are held to a higher set of standards than the rest of the world.

And yet, even though public opinion toward the Royal Family has arguably never been lower, we can thank them for one thing: Kate Middleton‘s disappearance has sparked earnest conspiracy theorizing and wild speculation (including from far-right kooks who have wandered into the discourse days late to share their belief that she died from a “vaccine injury”), but it has also prompted an outpouring of some of the best memes on the internet.

The Kategate memes can basically be categorized into three ascending tiers: There’s Tier One, which places the princess in the context of other trending news stories or cultural phenomena, such as the suggestion that she is playing the role of the Unknown or the ennui-riddled Oompa-Loompa in the Glasgow Wonka experience; or that she’s the mystery guest on Lil Nas X’s new album; or that she’s in the throes of a crippling World of Warcraft addiction; or that she’s stuck in Barbieland helping a doll version of her through an existential version.

There’s Tier Two, which focuses less on timely jokey explanations and more on the actual conspiracy theories circulating about her absence, such as the suggestion that she is in a coma from complications of her abdominal surgery, or even deceased. “To everyone mocking Kate Middleton’s photoshop skills, I’d like to see how well YOU edit family pictures when you’re dead,” says one viral tweet. Another refers to the belief that she is in the process of divorcing her husband Prince William, who has long been rumored to be having an affair with the couple’s friend Rose Hanbury, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley, who bears a striking resemblance to Middleton. “I too would do a gone girl if my bald ass husband cheated on me with someone who looked exactly like me but horsier,” says one tweet. (The royals have not publicly commented on the rumors, but an attorney for Prince William did at one point tell the Daily Beast they were “false and highly damaging.”)

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And then there’s Tier Three, the most sophisticated tier, where the joke is not so much on Kate or whatever ominous theory has been devised to explain her whereabouts, but on the utter ineptitude of the Royal Family to quell the rising surge of antipathy towards them. In one viral TikTok, a woman speaking in an Eastern European accent stands in front of an illustration of “castle from England,” pretending to be Middleton officially speaking on behalf of the Palace, as she looks offcamera to an unseen person feeding her lines. “All my three biological children have 10 fingers, 10 toes, and skirt,” she says haltingly, referring to the Photoshop controversy. “Basically what I am saying is everything is fine!” Another tweet uses the clip from Succession of failson Roman Roy, blankly clicking through his notifications after watching the explosion of a rocket launch project he had overseen, with the caption, “The royal family social media manager thinking they did a good job on the Kate Middleton photo edits.”

The central mystery of Kate’s disappearance aside, this has been the most fascinating thing about the entire debacle: watching the picture-perfect artifice constructed by the Royal Family crumble to the ground. Having been read to filth for unsuccessfully trying to snooker the news media and the public at large, there’s no longer any reason for anyone to take anything the palace says seriously — and, by extension, there’s no reason for us to take the Royals seriously as well. Whatever Kate is going through, and whatever the true explanation for her absence may be, she deserves the respect and privacy that is afforded to any other human being going through difficult times. But that’s not tantamount with representatives for the Royal Family outright lying to a populace they think is stupid, and now that they’ve been called out on that, there’s no reason not to call them out for their very existence.

Read original source here.

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