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For a woman we haven’t actually seen since Christmas, an awful lot has been written about the Princess of Wales this week.

In fact, you could say the questions and conspiracy theories about Kate and her health have got out of control.

I was told this week that it’s too early to say exactly when we’re going to see her again.

So should we read anything into that? I’m told a firm ‘no’.

The prince and princess, and their team at Kensington Palace, are sticking to the line they put out in January: she has had abdominal surgery and won’t be back to public engagements until after Easter.

The rumour mill was set off by William’s decision not to attend a memorial service in Windsor on Tuesday for unknown personal reasons, even though the palace has insisted the princess is still recovering well.

But the prince’s decision and the lack of explanation for it has exposed how high-risk their strategy of keeping quiet is – a vacuum of information is quickly filled by rumour and speculation.

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Conspiracy theories have been trending on social media all week, some more vicious and far-fetched than others, and it has been headline news all over the world.

The voracious appetite for news about the princess hasn’t been helped by the perception that the King is being much more open about his cancer diagnosis. We’ve seen videos of him with his “get well soon” cards, walking to church at Sandringham, and even rare access to his meeting with the prime minister.

Former palace communications secretary Ailsa Anderson said the intense interest in the royals isn’t new: she had dozens of phone calls when Prince Philip attended an engagement with a plaster on his hand.

But the comparison between the King and Kate, and what they’re sharing, is unfair, she said.

(left to right) the Princess of Wales, Princess Charlotte, Prince George, the Prince of Wales, Prince Louis and Mia Tindall attending the Christmas Day morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk. Picture date: Monday December 25, 2023.
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We haven’t seen the Princess of Wales since Christmas Day last year. Pic: PA

“He is the head of state. He’s also the head of state to various realms and Commonwealth countries, so he is in a different position to the Princess of Wales” she said.

“It’s got to be done by a case by case episode.

“He is the monarch. He’s been very, very open about his treatment. We still don’t know what sort of cancer he has got. But we’re not getting that same level of, frankly, vile speculation on social media and in the press that the Princess of Wales is getting and people should literally give her a break.”

A couple of years ago we were briefed that William wouldn’t stick to the royal line of ‘never complain never explain’ – he wants to be more open.

You can see that with his recent intervention on the Middle East and the public statement he made about Princess Diana’s discredited Panorama interview.

But there is a red line when it comes to his family, his wife and children.

His anger at perceived intrusion was clear when photographers outside the hospital where Kate was treated were warned it was best that they leave.

We haven’t seen the princess since Christmas Day. It’s a long time and it is inevitable that people have wanted to know more. With other big royal family events coming up soon, such as the Easter Sunday church service, the anticipation about when we’ll see her will only ramp up.

But what’s been made very clear to me is that William isn’t going to change his position on their family privacy, no matter how noisy the speculation may become.

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Five people arrested after police discover ‘human remains of young baby’ in Wigan

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Five people arrested after police discover 'human remains of young baby' in Wigan

Five people have been arrested after police discovered what they believe to be human remains of a young baby.

Officers said those detained, aged between 20-70, were held on suspicion of concealing a death and unlawful burial.

They have all been bailed pending further enquiries.

The investigation, prompted by welfare concerns, is focused on an address in Marsh Green, Wigan, and a location on Valley Road in Pemberton.

Chief Superintendent Clare Jenkins from Greater Manchester Police’s Wigan district said: “This is a truly heartbreaking discovery, and I do not underestimate the impact that this news will have on the local community.”

An address in Marsh Green, Wigan
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An address in Marsh Green, Wigan

Addressing the local community, she said: “I would like to reassure you that we have several teams of officers and specialist resources working diligently to find answers.

“You will likely notice an increased presence of our officers throughout the next week, if you have any concerns or want to share any confidential information, please do not hesitate to speak to them.”

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She added: “In the coming days we will know more about the circumstances surrounding this incident, but we are confident that this is isolated, and there is no threat to the wider public.”

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Liz Truss was ‘ecstatic’ with mini-budget plan and claims Number 10 infested with fleas in new memoir

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Liz Truss was 'ecstatic' with mini-budget plan and claims Number 10 infested with fleas in new memoir

Liz Truss has revealed she considered abolishing the UK’s economic watchdog and replacing leaders at the Treasury and Bank of England, accusing the bodies of being “pro-China” and “pro-Remain”.

The country’s shortest serving prime minister said she discussed scrapping the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) with her Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng but concluded it would have “amounted to a declaration of war on the economic establishment”.

In an extract from her memoir published by the Daily Mail, Ms Truss says the OBR, Treasury, and Bank of England “were more interested in balancing the books than growing the economy” and saw immigration “as a way of fixing the public finances”.

Defending her September 2022 mini-budget – which led to a surge in borrowing costs and saw the pound slump to a 37-year low against the dollar – the former prime minister said she would “accept that the communications around the mini-budget were not as good as they could have been”.

However, she said the afternoon after which Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng outlined the growth plan was “probably my happiest moment as prime minister” adding “I was ecstatic”.

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Truss’ time as PM

Mr Kwarteng was sacked three weeks later amid rising mortgage costs, before most measures in the statement were axed in an attempt to stabilise financial markets.

Kwasi Kwarteng
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Kwasi Kwarteng was also sacked following the mini-budget. Pic: PA

The serialisation also includes behind-the-scenes details of domestic life as a senior government figure.

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While foreign secretary, Ms Truss says she was forced to share the grace-and-favour Chevening mansion in Kent with her predecessor Dominic Raab and would find “protein shakes labelled ‘Raab’ in the fridge”.

Anecdotes, complaints and lamentations – but a lack of self-awareness


Rob Powell Political reporter

Rob Powell

Political correspondent

@robpowellnews

Given Liz Truss is the shortest-serving prime minister in UK history and given she oversaw an economic meltdown and was forced to fire her own Chancellor and repeal most of her policy offering, the extracts of her memoirs are strikingly bereft of any self-criticism or self-awareness.

As the political blogger Sam Freeman has pointed, bits of the book feel like a ‘what I did on my holidays school essay’.

There’s amusing and eminently readable anecdotes about trying to get Ocado shops delivered to Downing Street, taking her children into the government nuclear bunker, and finding Dominic Raab’s protein shakes in the fridge at the foreign secretary’s country residence.

There’s also some complaining.

The former Prime Minister laments having to book her own hair and make up and says a lack of medical support meant her private secretary had to get her cough medicine in the middle of the night.

She says living in Downing Street was “intensely claustrophobic” and she was “effectively a prisoner”.

It’s an open question whether that stirs much sympathy with those who saw their mortgage rates soar during her chaotic 50 days in office.

Then there’s the now familiar defence of her economic strategy, which once again seems to consist of blaming everyone bar herself.

In four pages of text, I spotted just two flashes of introspection.

She acknowledges that the “communications around the mini-budget were not as good as they could have been”. But then neuters that mea culpa by adding: “But I have to ask: what would we have been waiting for?”

She also says the late Queen had told her to “pace yourself”, before adding “maybe I should have listened”.

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The Norfolk MP is also critical of the levels of personal support offered to UK prime ministers saying “despite now being one of the most photographed people in the country, I had to organise my own hair and make-up appointments”.

She described the prime ministerial flat above the Number 10 offices as infested with fleas that some claimed came from her predecessor Boris Johnson’s dog Dilyn.

Ms Truss also revealed she and her husband had ordered new furniture for the residence “but were evicted before it could be delivered”.

The death of the Queen is also described in the extracts, with Ms Truss saying the fact it happened on her second full day as prime minister left her in a “state of shock” and thinking “Why me? Why now?”.

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