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Are the Buckingham Palace Flags Really Flying at Half-Mast? Us Debunks the Social Media Rumors

Us Weekly Debunks Rumors About Buckingham Palace Flags Flying Half Mast
TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images

Sorry, royal family conspirators, the flags in England are not flying half-mast — despite recent reports saying otherwise.

As conspiracy theories about Princess Kate Middleton’s wellbeing continue surfacing online, some social media users have claimed that the Union Jack (the national flag of the United Kingdom) has been lowered to half-mast above Buckingham Palace. However, a quick fact check proves that this is not the case.

Photos are being reshared on X, showing the Union Jack flying halfway down a flagpole. However, the social media platform has added a note to each of the viral posts.

“Readers added context they thought people might want to know,” the X note reads, debunking royal flag theories. “This post is false. The image in the post is from when the queen died in 2022, not from now.”

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Generally, flags are lowered to half-mast to signify significant events in the nation, which often include the death of a leader, a tragedy or to show respect during a solemn occasion. (Flags were lowered half-mast when Queen Elizabeth II died in September 2022. In the United States the flags will also fly half-mast when Presidents die, or national treasures, like James Gandolfini.)

Rumors about the flags went hand in hand with speculation that the royal family was allegedly gearing up for a major announcement on the BBC this week. Neither the news network nor Buckingham Palace confirmed these rumors.

Social media users speculated that the reported announcement would be a health update on King Charles III, who announced a cancer diagnosis in February. (Buckingham Palace confirmed on Monday, March 18, that the King was alive after Russian media reported otherwise.)

Other rumors about the alleged BBC report said that it would finally address details about Kate’s whereabouts.

Kate has been largely out of the public eye since undergoing a planned abdominal surgery in January. At the time, Kensington Palace announced that she would be in recovery until after the Easter holiday. (Kate has been spotted out publicly on three occasions throughout March.)

While her return to public-facing duties was initially set for the end of the month, a recent report claims that Kate will be out of commission longer than expected.

U.K.’s The Sunday Times reported that the Princess of Wales will wait until her and William’s children — Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5 — head back to school on April 17, following the Easter holidays. No royal engagements featuring Kate have been announced thus far.

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The same report noted that, while she is recuperating at home, Kate has continued her usual routine.

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Kate Middleton. Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Details about Kate’s wellbeing have been kept out of the public eye. A source told Us Weekly earlier this month that the Princess of Wales will “likely” offer more details once she returns to public-facing duties.

“Nobody at the palace knows what the exact medical condition Kate has been suffering with. But Kate is a very transparent person,” the insider shared earlier this month. “She’s not really capable of lying but at this stage and just wants her privacy.”

The source expects that people will “likely” ask about Kate’s health when she returns to the public eye. The insider expects that Kate will offer a direct answer.

“She doesn’t hide things and doesn’t have that ability to sneak around,” the source told Us, noting that Kate is more likely to “open up to a regular person” because she “doesn’t want all this fuss and bother.”

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