Chinese netizens join royal rumour mill as Kate drama continues

The British public are far from the only ones concerned with the mysterious disappearance of Kate Middleton, or the Princess of Wales, from public life for the past 3 months. It feels like the whole world has logged on to debate the reason for her absence, share concern for her wellbeing, and speculate on the probability of tawdry rumours.  

On China’s microblogging hub, Weibo, Chinese netizens are putting their two pennies in, spawning a raft of hashtags cumulatively amassing several billion views. Unsurprisingly, the most read topic is “Kate apologises for photoshopped picture” (#凯特王妃就p图道歉#), which has attracted almost 500 million views on Weibo alone in the week since new agencies issued a “kill notice” for the doctored photo of Kate and her children released by Kensington Palace.

Many pointed out logical inconsistencies in the official narrative that Kate’s extended absence is due to her recovering from surgery. “Someone strong enough to appear in public immediately after giving birth surely would have shown up by now if she was really okay”, one Weibo user commented, referencing the fact that Kate appeared before the press within hours of giving birth to her first child. “Enough energy to photoshop a picture, but not enough energy to show face?”, wrote another.

Under the discussion hashtag “Kate appears in the flesh” (#凯特现身#), many Weibo users mocked the British tabloid press. “I hereby announce that I saw a dinosaur on the banks of the Yangtze River yesterday”, one user posted sarcastically. This was a jab at the credibility of the Sun’s supposed eyewitness account that Kate was seen looking “happy and healthy” at the Windsor Farm Shop on March 18.

According to the state-backed publication The Global Times, this shattering of the royal family’s credibility mirrors the UK’s decline: “The era of glorious empire has long gone, and the UK is struggling…Many commonwealth countries are eager to bid farewell to the British monarchy.”


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