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Ever since it was announced in mid-January that the Princess of Wales (formerly known as Kate Middleton) had abdominal surgery which required a lengthy recovery at home and a break from her royal engagements, there’s been speculation about her whereabouts.

For whatever reason, it seems inconceivable to some that the princess is really just taking time off to recover in the privacy of her Adelaide Cottage home in Windsor. Therefore, wild conspiracies have emerged which have led to the Waleses trying to calm things down. But their actions have made things worse and now a royal commentator believes they have to “play chess” with the media and the public.

Commentator points out ‘chess moves’ by Prince William and Kate

Because the press and public were so starved for concrete proof that the Princess of Wales was alive and well, the Palace decided to release a photo of Kate and her three children to mark Mother’s Day in the U.K. What was meant to be received as a sweet family photo and put to rest all the rumors about Kate’s well being, turned into an international photo scandal as the image was edited.

The Princess of Wales later issued an apology on X (formerly known as Twitter) writing: “Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing. I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused. I hope everyone celebrating had a very happy Mother’s Day.” 

However, Sky News host Rita Panahi doesn’t believe Kate had anything to do with the photo edits. She discussed the topic with royal commentator and To Di For Daily podcast host Kinsey Schofield who said the Waleses are making some “chess moves” now to try and quiet down the noise.

“We are getting some chess moves,” Schofield said. “We did see a story pop up in The Times in the U.K. over the weekend, where there is clearly permission given to close friends of the Prince and Princess of Wales to speak on their behalf. Although they don’t say that, the details are just too intimate … Those friends saying that Kate was absolutely left devastated by the backlash after the photo, that the couple trusted that people would give them space and allow the Princess of Wales to heal.

Kate Middleton attends the opening of Evelina London's new children's day surgery unit in London
Middleton attends the opening of Evelina London’s new children’s day surgery unit in London | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

“This is the hardest time that the Wales family has had to go through as a family, and they’re trying to keep things as normal as possible for the children, but it’s not easy. Also, Catherine was seen … out shopping with Prince William close to home — so, we’re seeing teeny, tiny nudges where they’re trying to silence some of the kind of media meltdown over Catherine’s absence.”

Royal expert discusses Rose Hanbury affair rumors that have been circulating again

Amid the questions about where Kate is, a nasty rumor about Prince William cheating on her with a woman named Rose Hanbury has begun circulating again. As Schofield noted those rumors started in “2019 and no one has been able to prove them.”

The commentator then explained: “This woman, Lady Rose, is a friend of the Princess of Wales. Oliver her son was a page boy at King Charles’ coronation last year. In August of 2023, the Princess of Wales stayed overnight [at Rose’s home] because she had an all-night festival on her estate. Pippa’s daughter, who was recently born, was named Rose — I’m not naming my child after my brother-in-law’s mistress.

Rose Hanbury arrives through the East Gallery for a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace
Rose Hanbury arrives through the East Gallery for a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace | Victoria Jones- WPA Pool/Getty Images

Schofield added: “Tom Bower said that this is not true. Robert Lacey [says] this is not true, Tina Brown, and even Omid Scobie says it’s not true. This is a rumor that started in the United States in Intouch magazine and as Tom Bower very astutely pointed out, that is one of Meghan Markle’s — that was one of her favorite magazines to appear in prior to meeting Prince Harry.

“And he alludes to the fact that Meghan Markle is the one who initially leaked this to prove that the Palace protects Kate and not Meghan. And so several people have pointed to Meghan Markle starting these rumors to prove a point.”

Prince William had previously threatened legal action over the “baseless” claims, while Hanbury through her lawyers recently told Business Insider that the rumors she had an affair with William “are completely false.”