Stephen Colbert regrets fueling Prince William affair rumor after Kate Middleton cancer news

Stephen Colbert appeared regretful on “The Late Show” after fueling conspiracy theories about Kate Middleton before the Princess of Wales announced her cancer diagnosis.

“There’s a standard that I try to hold myself to, and that is I do not make light of somebody else’s tragedy,” Colbert, 59, said on Monday’s episode.

“Far too many of us know that any cancer diagnosis of any kind is harrowing for the patient and for their family,” he continued. “Though I’m sure they don’t need it from me, I and everyone here at ‘The Late Show’ would like to extend our well-wishes and heartfelt hope that her recovery is swift and thorough.”

Stephen Colbert is responding to backlash for his jokes about Kate Middleton. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Colbert perpetuated a rumor that Prince William cheated on Middleton prior to her cancer diagnosis being revealed. Samir Hussein/Wireimage

While Colbert showed remorse, some viewers pointed out on X that he did not apologize in his remarks.

“no actual apology from Stephen Colbert to Kate Middleton,” one person wrote.

“Could Stephen Colbert be anymore [sic] of a jerk??? This is misleading rambling, NOT an apology of any kind,” another fumed.

Others defended the host, with one fan pointing out, “Stephen Colbert handled this very well. And I’m glad that he didn’t apologize for his jokes. Because he doesn’t need to. Joking about public figures and what’s happening in the news is part of being a late night host.”

Colbert made his jokes when the internet’s speculation about Middleton’s whereabouts was at an all-time high. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
“Kate’s absence may be related to her husband and the future King of England William having an affair,” Colbert said at the time. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Prior to the confirmation of Middleton’s diagnosis, the internet had a field day speculating about why the princess had not been seen out in public for weeks — despite the palace announcing in January that she had undergone abdominal surgery and wouldn’t return to her royal duties until “after Easter.”

Then, the release of a heavily edited photo of the mom of three on Mother’s Day in the UK sparked even more jokes about Middleton’s actual whereabouts from comedians worldwide — like Colbert.

“The kingdom has been all a flutter by the seeming disappearance of Kate Middleton. Well now, internet sleuths are guessing that Kate’s absence may be related to her husband and the future King of England William having an affair,” the late-night host said on his show earlier this month.

He then gasped and and sarcastically added, “Oh no, my heart goes out to poor Kate.”

In 2019, William was accused of cheating on Middleton with ex-pal Rose Hanbury. Getty Images
William shot down the rumor when it first came out. Getty Images

Colbert was referencing a nearly five-year rumor that began in 2019 that claimed Prince William had an affair with British peeress Rose Hanbury when Middleton was pregnant with Prince Louis.

The comedian also quipped on his show, “According to tabloids back then, when Kate supposedly confronted him about it, he laughed it off saying there was nothing to it.

“Always a good response when your wife accuses you of cheating. ‘Ha ha, imagine me having an affair! It is to laugh.’”

Hanbury has also slammed the “completely false” cheating rumor. Getty Images
She reportedly also sent Colbert a legal notice. Getty Images

William, 41, has denied cheating on his wife, 42, stating via his lawyers back in 2019, “In addition to being false and highly damaging, the publication of false speculation in respect of our clients’ private life also constitutes a breach of his privacy.”

Hanbury, 40, also slammed the “completely false” rumor after it resurfaced again recently, and reportedly sent Colbert a legal notice due to his remarks.

“The rumor appears to have entered into the mainstream media recently as a result of another joke made about it on ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,’” lawyers for the wife of David Cholmondeley, 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley, told In Touch Thursday.

“We have written on our client’s behalf to CBS and various other reputable media organizations to confirm that the allegation is false.”

Other high-profile figures have also poked fun at rumors about William and Kate’s marriage. Getty Images
The Princess and Princess of Wales’ critics are now being called out given Middleton’s diagnosis. Getty Images

Aside from Colbert, though, the internet is also fuming at other public figures for speculating about Middleton and the royals during this difficult time.

Andy Cohen has also come under fire for trolling the princess’ latest sighting at a farm stand and also fueling rumors of William cheating by stating this week that the Prince of Wales is “his father’s [son],” referencing how King Charles III was unfaithful to William’s mom, Princess Diana, with Queen Camilla.

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Kim Kardashian, meanwhile, has also caught flack for joking on Instagram that she was “on her way to find” Middleton and Colbert’s pal John Oliver was called out for joking that the princess may have died.

One person wrote on X, “Remember despicable Kim Kardashian, Blake Lively, John Oliver, Andy Cohen, Stephen Colbert who poked fun of cancer stricken Kate Middleton. Remember those name in shame”

Middleton confirmed in a video message that she has cancer. BBC Studios
The princess did not disclose what kind of cancer or which stage. BBC Studios

Another critic chimed in, “Screw Stephen Colbert … Poor woman has cancers and these vile human beings for suggesting disgusting stuff. Kate will always be classy and they will always be trash.”

Middleton, for her part, said in her announcement video Friday that she had taken some time to further address her absence because she and William wanted to “explain everything” to Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Louis, 5, “in a way that is appropriate for them.”

She then praised those who had shown “love, support and kindness,” and added, “We hope that you will understand that, as a family, we now need some time, space and privacy while I complete my treatment.”