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Labour leader and Archbishop of Canterbury call for end to speculation over Kate

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has voiced concerns about the intense public scrutiny around the Princess of Wales, telling people to “butt out and leave her alone”.

Sir Keir spoke about the issue following claims made by The Mirror newspaper that up to three people could have been involved in trying to access Kate’s private medical records after her abdominal surgery in January.

Speculation and conspiracy theories about the princess’s whereabouts and status of her health have been rife on social media, and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby described the interest as “village gossip” and “wrong”.

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Sir Keir Starmer has spoken about the scrutiny around Kate (Ian West/PA)

The King, who has cancer, was treated for an enlarged prostate at the private London Clinic where Kate received her medical treatment, but the PA news agency understands Charles’s medical records were not accessed in the alleged breach.

During an appearance on Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine, Sir Keir was asked if he felt sorry for the princess and replied: “Yes. I think that we should leave her alone. She’s had a difficult operation, and she deserves privacy.”

He added: “We should just butt out and leave her alone … That’s not really a political response, it’s a human response, as a dad and a human being.”

The UK’s privacy watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), is looking into the allegation of an attempted data breach at the private hospital where Kate had abdominal surgery and is in the process of assessing the information.

Princess of Wales surgery
The London Clinic where both the Princess of Wales and the King were treated (Lucy North/PA)

According to The Mirror, an investigation was launched at the clinic, where Kate spent 13 nights, after staff tried to access Kate’s medical notes following the princess’s discharge on January 29, the same day Charles was allowed home.

On Wednesday, the London Clinic vowed that “all appropriate investigatory, regulatory and disciplinary steps will be taken” over any breach.

In a statement, chief executive of the London Clinic Al Russell said: “There is no place at our hospital for those who intentionally breach the trust of any of our patients or colleagues.”

Details of Kate’s condition have not been disclosed but Kensington Palace previously said it was not cancer-related and that the princess wished for her personal medical information to remain private.

Royals attends Christmas Day Church service
Kate was last officially seen in public when she attended church on Christmas Day with her family (Joe Giddens/PA)

The Archbishop of Canterbury told Times Radio: “I think we are obsessed by conspiracy and we have little sense of the humanity of those who are caught in the glare of the news.”

The senior cleric added: “People should be allowed to be ill, have an operation, whatever it is, and live their lives in peace without people demanding they prove something every other day.”

Blaming the internet for exacerbating the problem, he said: “It’s extremely unhealthy. It’s just old-fashioned village gossip that can now go round the world in seconds and we have to turn away from that.

“Gossiping in that way is wrong.”

Kate’s absence from public life as she convalesces has led to the wild conspiracy theories which have only gathered pace despite the future Queen being photographed on a number of occasions.

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The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby (Yui Mok/PA)

A picture published online on March 4, showing her as a front seat passenger in a car driven by her mother, Carole Middleton, and another image of the princess sitting beside her husband in a chauffeur-driven car on March 11 did not dispel rumours.

The online speculation increased after irregularities were spotted in an official Mother’s Day photograph of Kate and her children, which led to the princess admitting to “editing” the image and apologising for any “confusion” caused.

Social media users had their own theories about a video that emerged this week of William and Kate leaving the Windsor Farm Shop following a visit at the weekend.