Hospital staff may have snooped on Catherine’s medical records, privacy watchdog says

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A British privacy watchdog said Wednesday it is looking into a report that staff at a private London hospital tried to snoop on the Princess of Wales’s medical records while she was a patient for abdominal surgery.

The Information Commissioner’s Office said: “We can confirm that we have received a breach report and are assessing the information provided.”

The Daily Mirror newspaper reported that at least one staff member at the London Clinic tried to look at Princess Catherine’s notes during her stay there in January.

“This is a major security breach and incredibly damaging for the hospital, given its unblemished reputation for treating members of the Royal Family,” one insider told the newspaper.

Catherine had surgery at the clinic in central London on Jan. 16 and was discharged almost two weeks later.

Kensington Palace, the office of Catherine and Prince William, said the report was “a matter for the London Clinic.” 

Al Russell, the hospital’s chief executive, said Wednesday that “all appropriate investigatory, regulatory and disciplinary steps will be taken.”

“There is no place at our hospital for those who intentionally breach the trust of any of our patients or colleagues,” he said in a statement.

U.K. Health Minister Maria Caulfield said police had been asked to look into the matter.

“Whether they take action is a matter for them,” she told LBC radio. 

“But the Information Commissioner can also take prosecutions,” she added. “So there are particularly hefty implications if you are looking at notes for medical records that you should not be looking at.”

WATCH | Londoners say they want to respect Catherine’s privacy: 

Londoners pleased about Kate sighting but happy to respect her privacy

The Princess of Wales being spotted out and about with Prince William has Londoners relieved to know she appears to be doing well but some wish the public fascination would subside and leave her alone to recover in peace.

The alleged data breach reveals a darker side to the current frenzy over Catherine’s whereabouts, and, as some royal commentators and media outlets have pointed out, mirrors the invasions of privacy experienced by William’s mother, Princess Diana.

“Having seen his mother go through quite a lot of that, the hounding of his mother, I think he feels he is seeing elements of that being breached again in terms of the demands and screeches at his wife over her medical privacy, and that is hurting him,” Sunday Times royal editor Roya Nikkhah told Good Morning Britain on Monday.

“I do worry about what happened to the truth,” Diana’s brother, Earl Charles Spencer, said to BBC Sunday about the theories involving Catherine, but added he doesn’t think they’re more dangerous than how Diana was treated by the press.

Speculation and rumours

Kensington Palace has given little detail about Catherine’s condition beyond saying that it wasn’t cancer-related, the surgery was successful and recuperation will keep the princess away from public duties until April.

Even though that time has not elapsed, the princess’s absence from public view has fuelled a tide of speculation, rumour and conspiracy theories. 

On March 10, Kensington Palace released a photo of Catherine and her children, George, Charlotte and Louis, to coincide with Mother’s Day in the U.K.

The move backfired when The Associated Press and other news agencies retracted the picture from publication because it appeared to have been manipulated, fuelling even more conjecture. 

A smiling woman sits outside with her three children.
Princess Catherine says she manipulated this photo that was taken of her with her three children. Inconsistencies pointed out by experts that are highlighted include daughter Charlotte’s hair falling unnaturally on her left shoulder; the top of her skirt jutting out past her sweater and a missing part of her left sleeve; and Catherine’s jacket zipper appearing to split. (Kensington Royal/X)

News agency AFP later said Kensington Palace is no longer a trusted news source.

Catherine issued a statement acknowledging she liked to “experiment with editing” and apologizing for “any confusion” the photo had caused.

This week, another photo released by the Prince and Princess of Wales was flagged by global image agencies as being “digitally enhanced at the source.” 

Both Getty Images and Reuters confirmed with CBC News that they’re reviewing a photo of Queen Elizabeth II and her grandchildren and great-grandchildren taken in 2022 and released last year. An editor’s note on the Getty image recently added to the photo on the site says it “has been digitally enhanced at the source.” 

New video doesn’t help

The gossip has not been quieted by footage published by The Sun and TMZ that appears to show Catherine and William visiting a farm shop near their Windsor home on the weekend. The video sparked a new flurry of rumour-mongering, with some armchair sleuths refusing to believe the video showed Catherine at all.

Online, some people pointed to what they see as a height discrepancy, others said it’s a Catherine “lookalike,” and some pointed to supposed Christmas decor in the background as evidence the video wasn’t actually taken recently.

WATCH | Will this video quell ‘Kategate’ rumours? 

Will video of Princess Catherine in public calm the storm of speculation?

After not being seen in public for months, a new video of the Princess of Wales shopping with her husband has some royal watchers relieved, but others say it might not be enough to calm storm speculation about her wellbeing.

Nelson Silva, a local resident who said he shot the footage, told The Sun that conspiracy theorists are “delusional.”

“I’m not so much shocked that these comments have continued, I’m just confused how exactly they can continue,” he was quoted as saying. “This is a video clearly showing her and William. I saw them with my own eyes.”





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