Here’s why the royal family hasn’t put an end to all the ridiculous Kate Middleton speculation

Kate Middleton may have been caught on camera at a farm stand with Prince William over the weekend, but the sighting did little to shut down conspiracy theories.

Was she in hiding over marriage troubles?

Were the health woes that caused her to disappear from public much worse than first believed?

Has she been replaced by a body double?

“That ain’t Kate…,” Bravo host Andy Cohen tweeted Monday after the new photo was published in The Sun.

Kate Middleton and Prince William appeared in good spirits during a trip to a local farm shop near their Windsor home over the weekend — but the internet then wondered if it was a Kate lookalike. The Sun

Yet the biggest mystery of all, at least for Americans, is why Kensington Palace hasn’t shut down the speculation by being more honest.

Kate, 42, has been out of the public eye since January, when it was announced she’d had major abdominal surgery.

At the time, the palace announced that the Princes of Wales would return to royal duties after Easter.

But she was hardly out of sight and out of mind, as doubters online immediately began guessing at the true nature of her condition and whether there might be more to it.

“I would have thought that Catherine would have done a good enough job to be left in peace for three months, but evidently not … why should she have to talk about her personal and private health?” writer and friend of the royal family Hugo Vickers told Page Six.

Even after a serious health issue, doubters felt the farm-stand photo didn’t look enough like Kate from 2023 (above). Getty Images

“This must be very upsetting for her. Personally, I don’t think she needs to talk about it.”

Still, even he admits that human curiosity can’t be quelled.

“The fact that Catherine disappeared for three months, people were bound to say, ‘Well, why, what’s going on?’ — and the void can be filled with these ghastly conspiracy theories,” Vickers said.

Sources said Prince William still bears the scars of how the media and the public consumed every detail of his mother’s life. Getty Images

“One would think the farm shop footage would stop the conspiracy theories, but no, because conspiracy theorists love their theories,” he added.

“Look at [death conspiracies around] Marilyn Monroe and Diana, Princess of Wales — however much evidence you produce, these things are bound to go on.”

In fact, insiders say that it’s the memories of how his mother Diana’s every move was consumed by the press and the public that makes Prince William shy away from revealing too much about his wife’s condition.

The Princess of Wales apologized for her editing after this photo was scrapped by top pictures agencies. Prince of Wales/Kensington Palac / MEGA

Palace sources have told Page Six that it is William, now 41 and the next in line to the throne, who has been adamant that Kate’s health is kept firmly under wraps and doesn’t believe outsiders need to know any more.

One insider said, “William is justifiably worried about the parallels to his mother, Diana.”

And the current inflamed public fascination is doing even more to convince he’s right.

Sources said William and Kate have made mis-steps that only fueled public speculation and curiosity. Getty Images

“This is the reason for keeping everything under wraps,” the insider said.

“This is haunting him. He thought [the world had] learned lessons we hadn’t.”

And while the royal family has long abided by the public-relations motto “Never complain, never explain,” branding expert Mark Borkowski believes that isn’t holding up so well today.

The Prince and Princess of Wales’ social-media scandal echos the conspiracy theories following Princess Diana’s death in August 1997, sources say. AFP via Getty Images

“They’ve failed to navigate the treacherous waters of social media, sticking to traditional tactics,” he said. “The blunt truth is, in the realm of celebrity, privacy is a myth. 

“Even before the recent crisis, [William] has been adamant about keeping royal duties separate from family time. But this ‘half in, half out’ approach has clearly faltered.”

Borkowski added that, had the palace originally been clearer about what exactly Kate’s abdominal surgery was, it might have violated her privacy — but it might also have kept questions from spinning out of control.

Branding expert Mark Borwkowski said that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have helped turn the royal family into a soap opera, leading to the social media chaos surrounding Kate. Getty Images forà2022 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Gala

“There might be sympathy, maybe even understanding, but secrecy? Forget about it.”

And he believes the family is not being more forthcoming now because “They don’t want to be accused of pandering to the conspiracy mongers.”

Vickers pointed out that Kate’s surprise operation was announced just days before King Charles candidly revealed that he is undergoing treatment for prostate cancer.

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Prince William and Kate Middleton in happier times, joining the late Queen Elizabeth II on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in July 2018. AP

“In the olden days nobody ever talked about the nature of any royal illness, but in this instance [Kate’s situation has] been exacerbated by the fact the king is rather open about his own illness — telling us about prostate cancer and the things we don’t normally talk about,” Vickers said.

It didn’t help that the Waleses have unintentionally contributed to the confusion.

Public speculation really sparked last month after William missed a memorial for his late godfather King Constantine, citing “personal” reasons for the last-minute cancellation.

King Charles, seen here with Queen Camilla, has been open about being diagnosed with cancer, while his daughter-in-law Kate has kept her own illness a mystery. AFP via Getty Images

And once social media learned that Kate had heavily edited a UK Mother’s Day portrait of herself and her three children, all bets were off.

Borkowski noted that the interest in palace intrigue is at a high.

“Don’t underestimate the disruptions caused by Harry and Meghan, which have actually made the royal family more captivating,” he said, adding that Netflix’s “The Crown.” has also re-framed the family through a lens of upheaval.

Although the monarchy has managed to adapt to keep afloat through the centuries, it now needs a kick start to keep up with the “ever-changing tides of public perception,” Borkowski said.

“They are looking through the wrong end of the telescope.

As for Kate’s eventual return, Vickers said of the farm-stand footage: “If she can walk like that, maybe she can come to the Easter Sunday Service. That would be special and very popular and could mark a turning point.”