Police officers stand guard outside The London Clinic where Kate, Princess of Wales had a surgery. Image Credit: AP file

LONDON: A British privacy watchdog said on Wednesday it is looking into a report that staff at a private London hospital tried to snoop on the Princess of Wales ’ medical records while she was a patient for abdominal surgery.

The Information Commissioner’s Office said: “We can confirm that we have received a breach report and are assessing the information provided.”

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The Daily Mirror newspaper reported that at least one staff member at the London Clinic tried to look at Princess Kate’s notes during her stay there in January.

Kate had surgery at the clinic in central London on Jan. 16 and was discharged almost two weeks later.

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Kensington Palace, the office of Kate and Prince William, said the report was “a matter for the London Clinic.”

The London Clinic did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Health Minister Maria Caulfield said police had been asked to look into the matter.

“Whether they take action is a matter for them,” she told LBC radio.

“But the Information Commissioner can also take prosecutions,” she added.


“So there are particularly hefty implications if you are looking at notes for medical records that you should not be looking at.”

Kensington Palace has given little detail about Kate’s condition beyond saying that it wasn’t cancer-related, the surgery was successful and recuperation will keep the princess away from public duties until April.

Even though that time has not elapsed, the princess’ absence from public view has fueled a tide of speculation, rumor and conspiracy theories.

On March 10, William and Kate’s Kensington Palace office released a photo of Kate and her children George, Charlotte and Louis to coincide with Mother’s Day in the UK.

The move backfired when The Associated Press and other news agencies retracted the picture from publication because it appeared to have been manipulated, fueling even more conjecture.

Kate Middleton edited image
The edited photo. Image Credit: AP

Kate issued a statement acknowledging she liked to “experiment with editing” and apologizing for “any confusion” the photo had caused.

The gossip has not been quieted by footage published by The Sun and TMZ that appears to show Kate and husband Prince William visiting a farm shop near their Windsor home on the weekend. The video sparked a new flurry of rumor-mongering, with some armchair sleuths refusing to believe the video showed Kate at all.

Nelson Silva, a local resident who said he shot the footage, told The Sun that conspiracy theorists are “delusional.”

“I’m not so much shocked that these comments have continued, I’m just confused how exactly they can continue,” he was quoted as saying. “This is a video clearly showing her and William. I saw them with my own eyes.”

In a statement to the Mirror, The London Clinic said: “We firmly believe that all our patients, no matter their status, deserve total privacy and confidentiality regarding their medical information.”

Kate was at the centre of controversy last week after she admitted editing an official portrait of her and her three children that was released by Buckingham Palace on Mothering Sunday.

It further stoked online speculation about her health and whereabouts after she had not been seen at a public event since a Christmas Day church service.

The palace had said in January she would require a lengthy recuperation and would not return to royal duties until at least April.

But instead of calming fears over her health, the edited picture sent the rumour mill into overdrive as media scrambled to pull the picture.

Catherine apologised but faced criticism even from usually supportive media.

British media have said that Catherine is still not due to return to public duties until mid-April.