Royal Fans Notice Kate Middleton's Wedding Ring Is Missing in Her First Official Photo Since Having Abdominal Surgery

"I couldn’t help but wonder… why was William not in the photo too?"

Royal fans notice Kate Middleton isn't wearing a wedding ring in the first photo released since her surgery.
(Image credit: Instagram: @princeandprincessofwales)

Royal fans are going down another conspiracy theory spiral after Kensington Palace released the first photo of Kate Middleton since she underwent abdominal surgery two months ago.

On Sunday, March 10, the Palace shared a photo of the Princess of Wales on its official Instagram account. In it, Princess Kate poses alongside her three children—Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5—while sitting in a chair outside the family’s Windsor home.

"Thank you for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months," the Palace captioned the post. "Wishing everyone a Happy Mother’s Day. The Prince of Wales, 2024."

(The United Kingdom celebrates Mother's Day on March 10.)

While many fans were quick to share how relieved they were to see the Princess of Wales smiling and appearing to be healthy and happy, others were quick to point out that the photo did not feature her husband, Prince William, and that the mom of three is not wearing her wedding ring.

A post shared by The Prince and Princess of Wales

A photo posted by princeandprincessofwales on

"'And as the first photo of Kate Middleton in months surfaced online, I couldn’t help but wonder… why was William not in the photo too?'" one fan posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. "'Where was her wedding ring?’

"Nah, I’m not convinced," another X user wrote. "1) Kate’s wedding ring is missing. 2) The right side of her hair and just above George’s hands have clearly been photoshopped, Why? 3) The bottom of Charlotte’s left sleeve has been photoshopped."

So a picture of Kate Middleton has been released (no William, no wedding ring) but a lot of people are claiming it's AI," another fan posted. "And so it begins."

Royal fans and UK media outlets have been speculating on Middleton's condition ever since the Palace announced the princess had abdominal surgery on Jan. 16 and would be stepping away from her royal duties until after Easter.

In response, a representative for Kensington Palace told Page Six at the end of February that the Palace "made it clear in January the timelines of the princess’ recovery and we’d only be providing significant updates."

"That guidance stands," the statement continued.

According to Town & Country, Kensington Palace declined to explain why Princess Kate was not wearing her wedding or engagement ring in the newly-released photo, but did clarify that it was her husband, Prince William, who snapped the picture of the proud mom and her children.

The first official post-surgery photo of Middleton is far from the first time the Princess of Wales has decided not to wear her engagement ring, either, which once belonged to Prince William's late mother, Princess Diana.

In 2022, Town & Country reports, Middleton left her iconic diamond and sapphire heirloom and Welsh gold wedding band at home when she took part in a sailing race with team Great Britain.

Danielle Campoamor
Weekend Editor

Danielle Campoamor is Marie Claire's weekend editor covering all things news, celebrity, politics, culture, live events, and more. In addition, she is an award-winning freelance writer and former NBC journalist with over a decade of digital media experience covering mental health, reproductive justice, abortion access, maternal mortality, gun violence, climate change, politics, celebrity news, culture, online trends, wellness, gender-based violence and other feminist issues. You can find her work in The New York Times, Washington Post, TIME, New York Magazine, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, TODAY, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, InStyle, Playboy, Teen Vogue, Glamour, The Daily Beast, Mother Jones, Prism, Newsweek, Slate, HuffPost and more. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and their two feral sons. When she is not writing, editing or doom scrolling she enjoys reading, cooking, debating current events and politics, traveling to Seattle to see her dear friends and losing Pokémon battles against her ruthless offspring. You can find her on X, Instagram, Threads, Facebook and all the places.