Speculation about big news coming from the British ​royal family began running wild ​on social media in March 2024, with the hashtag “royal announcement” trending on X. While fans were wondering what it could be about, the royal family made the major announcement that Princess Kate Middleton was battling cancer on March 22.

Why Was ‘Royal Announcement’ Trending?

On March 16, 2024, several TikTok content creators claimed the BBC was “on standby” for some type of official royal announcement, although none had any direct confirmation from either Buckingham Palace or Kensington Palace that such a statement was going to be released. The speculation then trickled over onto X, where it became a top trending topic in the U.S.

One post that circulated showed the flag at Buckingham Palace at half-mast, signaling a period of mourning, but it turned out to be from September 2022 when the nation was mourning the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Is There Going to Be a Royal Announcement Theories 189
Courtesy of X

What Was the Royal Announcement About?

Kate announced on March 22 that she was battling cancer after undergoing her planned abdominal surgery in January.

“[My] medical team advised preventative chemotherapy and I am now in early stages of that treatment,” Kate said via a video shared on X. “[It has] taken me time to recover from major surgery in order to start treatment, also to explain to kids and to reassure them I will be OK.”

The princess said the news came as a “huge shock,” and she and Prince William are doing everything they can to “process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family.”

Kate – who shares children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis with her husband – went on to say it has taken time for them to explain to their kids her diagnosis, along with assuring her young children she was going to be recover.

“Having William by my side is a great source of comfort and reassurance too. As is the love, support and kindness that has been shown by so many of you. It means much to us both,” she concluded. “We hope that you will understand that, as a family, we now need some time, space and privacy while I complete my treatment.”

What Did People Think the Royal Announcement Was About?

On X, people had three specific guesses about what a possible announcement could entail, “1. King Charles abdicating the throne, 2. Kate’s health (worse than people thought), 3. William & Kate divorcing,” several users wrote.

Numerous users used the hashtag “royal announcement” to poke fun at the chatter with memes, including ones with the royal communications letterhead and crest. One read, “They’re taking the hobbits to Isengard!”

Why Did People Think ​King Charles Could Be Abdicating the Throne?

The king has been battling an undisclosed type of cancer since late January 2024. It was detected during a procedure for a benign prostate enlargement. In a February 5, 2024, announcement from Buckingham Palace, it was revealed that Charles had “commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties. Throughout this period, His Majesty will continue to undertake State business and official paperwork as usual.”

The palace added that the king was “wholly positive” about his treatments and looking forward to “returning to full public duty as soon as possible.”

Charles was unable to attend the annual Commonwealth Day celebration in London on March 11, 2024, but shared a video, saying, “In recent weeks, I have been most deeply touched by your wonderfully kind and thoughtful good wishes for my health and, in return, can only continue to serve you to the best of my ability, throughout the Commonwealth.”

The palace continued to share photos of Charles during his regular meetings with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, as well other world leaders and dignitaries.

The monarch was the subject of a false report that he had died when the Russian state-run TASS news agency ran a story with an “announcement” that included the seal from Buckingham Palace reading, “The following announcement is made by royal communications. The King passed away unexpectedly yesterday afternoon.”

“We are happy to confirm that The King is continuing with official and private business,” the palace said in a statement on March 18, 2024, to TASS, according to the New York Post.

Is There Going to Be a Royal Announcement? Theories
Andrew Milligan – Pool/Getty Images

Why Did People Think the Royal Announcement Was About Kate Middleton’s Health?

The princess underwent abdominal surgery on January 16 and spent nearly two weeks in the hospital afterward. She returned home to Adelaide Cottage to recuperate but Kensington Palace officials advised “she is unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter.”

Due to her long absence from the public eye and Kate’s wishes that the nature of her surgery not be disclosed for privacy reasons, conspiracy theories about the state of her health began to run rampant.

At the time, some users on X speculated she underwent plastic surgery, while others thought she might be in a coma.

Kate was seen in a video for the first time at a farm shop with Prince William on March 16, 2024. She was smiling and laughing as the pair walked through a parking lot with bags in their hands, looking fit in a pair of black leggings and a matching hoodie.

Why Do People Think Kate Middleton and Prince William Might Be Divorcing?

Rumors about Willam having an alleged ​2019 affair with socialite Rose Hanbury resurfaced during Kate’s medical crisis. Late night talk show host Stephen Colbert fueled the rumors, discussing the topic in an opening monologue on March 12, 2024.

In April 2019, royal law firm Harbottle and Lewis reportedly issued letters to the British media saying the claims were “false and highly damaging,” and the story was not reported on in the U.K. at that time.

William and Kate looked quite happy together during their outing to the Windsor farm shops, seemingly squashing any divorce chatter. Rose broke her silence on the topic, with her lawyers stating, “The rumors are completely false,” to Business Insider on March 16, 2024.

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