‘It’s a permanent doom loop’: Ex-Palace adviser says Kate conspiracy theory frenzy is the ‘worst he has ever seen’ – as shameless trolls start spreading new bizarre posts about her brave cancer video

A former palace adviser says the conspiracy theory frenzy circling around the Princess of Wales is the ‘worst he has ever seen’. 

Paddy Harverson, who was previously the official spokesman for King Charles and Prince William, said ‘it’s a sort of permanent doom loop’ amid shameless trolls spreading new bizarre posts about Kate’s courageous cancer video.

Speaking on BBC One’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Mr Harverson said the social and mainstream media ‘feeds off itself’.

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Kate’s emotional video of her sitting on a park bench telling the world about her diagnosis has touched the hearts of the nation and was supposed to bring an end to months of frenzied online speculation of her whereabouts and health.

Yet bizarre conspiracy theories continue as cruel trolls spread ludicrous speculation that Kate’s video was AI-generated.

‘I have cancer’: Emotional Kate delivers a brave message of hope


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The Princess of Wales’ emotional video of her sitting on a park bench telling the world about her cancer diagnosis has touched the hearts of the nation – but cruel trolls are spreading the ludicrous theory it’s AI-generated

Ex-palace adviser Paddy Harverson said the speculation and pressure about Kate's health and whereabouts is 'worst I have ever seen'
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Ex-palace adviser Paddy Harverson said the speculation and pressure about Kate’s health and whereabouts is ‘worst I have ever seen’

Mr Harverson, who was adviser to Prince William during his courtship with Princess Kate during the early years of their relationship, said of the speculation and pressure that has mounted over the last few months about her health and whereabouts: ‘It’s a sort of permanent doom loop,’ he said. ‘And it’s the worst I’ve ever seen.’

Speaking of Kate’s emotional video statement filmed in the gardens of Windsor Castle, he added: ‘I’m absolutely convinced that if we hadn’t had all the madness and social media, if we hadn’t had the sort of the Mother’s Day photo mistake, they would have still done it like this.’

The video has been reposted on social media by cruel trolls with Princess Diana and Meghan Markle‘s face superimposed over the top of Kate’s in an attempt to ‘prove’ the simplicity of creating a deepfake video.

Theories posted onto X/Twitter to back up the farcical AI thesis pointed to Kate’s striped jumper ‘continuing onto the bench’ and her glittering engagement ring ‘briefly disappearing’.

A community note – which allows contributors to comment on the accuracy of posts – soon appeared beneath the message which read: ‘This is yet another ridiculous conspiracy theory. What you can see is a reflection in the varnished surface of the bench.’

Claims a video from seven years ago appearing to show Kate wearing the same jumper was used as template to create the AI has also been ridiculed by social media users.

Linda Yaccarino, X chief executive, posted in support of Kate following her announcement on Friday evening.

She called her video ‘brave’ which was ‘delivered by Princess Kate with her signature grace’.

Yaccarino wrote: ‘Her request for privacy, to protect her children and allow her to move forward (without endless speculation) seems like a reasonable request to respect.’

Yet some were left incandescent with rage by Yaccarino’s tweet and called her a hypocrite.

Former BBC journalist Simon McCoy said: ‘Your platform has been used to promote conspiracy theories – and worse. Your hypocrisy is astounding.’

Speaking on BBC One's Sunday with Laura Kuennsberg, Mr Harverson said the social and mainstream media 'feeds off itself'
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Speaking on BBC One’s Sunday with Laura Kuennsberg, Mr Harverson said the social and mainstream media ‘feeds off itself’

The theories - dubbed #KateGate - became frenzied after the release of a photograph on her official social media channels for Mother's Day, when it became clear that the picture had been modified using Adobe Photoshop
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The theories – dubbed #KateGate – became frenzied after the release of a photograph on her official social media channels for Mother’s Day, when it became clear that the picture had been modified using Adobe Photoshop

Kate, 42, will now retreat to the sanctuary of her family home Anmer Hall, in Norfolk, with Prince William and their children 'to close off from the world', no doubt hoping to be left in peace in her fight against the disease
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Kate, 42, will now retreat to the sanctuary of her family home Anmer Hall, in Norfolk, with Prince William and their children ‘to close off from the world’, no doubt hoping to be left in peace in her fight against the disease

Prince William and Princess Kate pictured with their three children Prince George (left), Princess Charlotte (right) and Prince Louis (centre) at Anmer Hall in Norfolk for their 2020 Christmas card
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Prince William and Princess Kate pictured with their three children Prince George (left), Princess Charlotte (right) and Prince Louis (centre) at Anmer Hall in Norfolk for their 2020 Christmas card

Princess Kate and her family have found sanctuary in their home Anmer Hall (pictured), as she goes through cancer treatment
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Princess Kate and her family have found sanctuary in their home Anmer Hall (pictured), as she goes through cancer treatment

Queen Elizabeth’s Comms Sec hails Kate’s unprecedented video

Another added: ‘It’s ridiculous that while battling cancer, Kate has to record such a video because of run-away conspiracy theories and the trolls that perpetuate them.’

Twitter’s former UK and Europe boss Bruce Daisley told The Sunday Times said the ‘more serious issue’ was how X’s algorithms promote untrustworthy content.

‘It is notably more potent since [Elon] Musk arrived,’ he said.

‘In truth, Musk doesn’t care. He’s demonstrated he doesn’t think about the consequences of anything he does.’

Damian Collins, the Conservative MP who formerly chaired the digital, culture, media and sport committee, said ‘the trouble with these platforms is they recommend content to capture engagement, hold people’s attention to make money out of it’.

‘And if a clickbait story, based on conspiracy theories, grabs people’s attention, then they’re more interested in that than promoting news,’ he said.

The theories – dubbed #KateGate – became frenzied after the release of a photograph on her official social media channels for Mother’s Day, when it became clear that the picture had been modified using Adobe Photoshop.

Several picture agencies issued rare ‘kill’ notices for the photo because it had been substantially altered – with online wannabe detectives pointing out the flaws in the photograph, which Kate said she edited herself.

Matters were not helped when pic agency Getty Images later said that an image of Queen Elizabeth II sitting with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, also taken by Kate, had been ‘digitally enhanced at source’.

The Prince and Princess of Wales were seen together last week as William went to the The Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey
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The Prince and Princess of Wales were seen together last week as William went to the The Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey

‘Just a bump in the road’: Ex royal PR assures this is ‘not a crisis’

The Princess of Wales touchingly revealed how she is reassuring her young children amid her battle with cancer after the announcement she is fighting the disease.

In her statement, she said that she and Prince William explained the situation to their children George, Charlotte and Louis, after the ‘huge shock’ of her diagnosis.

Princess Catherine said had told them she is doing ‘well and getting stronger every day’ and that she was ‘focusing on the things that will help me heal’.

In a televised address, the future Queen revealed that she had been diagnosed with cancer after undergoing a successful abdominal operation in January, and that doctors have advised her to undergo preventative chemotherapy.

The Prince and Princess of Wales are said to be ‘enormously touched’ and ‘extremely moved’ by the public’s warmth and support following Kate’s cancer announcement.

There has been a global outpouring of support, including from the King, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, political figures and members of the public.

A Kensington Palace spokesperson said on Saturday: ‘The prince and princess are both enormously touched by the kind messages from people here in the UK, across the Commonwealth and around the world in response to Her Royal Highness’ message.

‘They are extremely moved by the public’s warmth and support and are grateful for the understanding of their request for privacy at this time.’

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