UK investigates breach of Gates' medical records

British officials said on Wednesday that Catherine, Princess of Wales, underwent stomach surgery in January following complaints that a staff member tried to access her private medical records at a London hospital.

The hospital, the London Clinic, a private firm with an elite clientele, has launched an investigation into the alleged breach, British tabloid Daily Mirror reported. reported the matter Tuesday evening.

A spokesman for the Information Commissioner's Office, which oversees data protection issues in Britain, said on Wednesday: “We can confirm that we have received a report of the breach and are assessing the information provided.”

The Mirror said the hospital reported the incident to Kensington Palace, where Catherine and her husband Prince William have their offices. “This is a matter for the London Clinic,” a Palace spokesman said.

It is unclear whether the employee was successful in accessing the files or shared them with someone outside the hospital. But the allegations add another layer of intrigue to Catherine's sudden hospitalization and prolonged recovery, which has already become the source of feverish rumors and conspiracy theories.

For all the speculation, there is no word on the condition that prompted Catherine's surgery. The palace has released almost no details, saying in its initial statement that “Catherine wishes her personal medical information to remain private”.

In recent weeks, as Catherine has stayed out of the public eye, social media users have developed increasingly wild theories about her prognosis, her whereabouts and her relationship with her husband.

Catherine, 42, contributed to the storm last week by admitting to digitally altering a Mother's Day photo of herself with her three children. The palace released the picture, which was said to have been taken by William days earlier, in a misguided attempt to quell public speculation.

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On Monday, the news agency Getty Images added a tip to a second, earlier photo of Catherine of Queen Elizabeth II surrounded by the monarch's grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The company said the film showed signs of being “digitally enhanced”.

On Monday, two London tabloids published pictures and video showing Catherine and William leaving a grocery store near their home in Windsor, west London, last weekend. If approved, it will be the first public appearance of Catherine before her hospitalization in January.

Kensington Palace declined to comment on the video, sticking to its policy of not releasing any information about Catherine's recovery beyond saying she will return to official duties sometime after the Easter break.

The allegation that a staff member may have tried to access Catherine's private medical records is a shame for the London clinic, which has treated other members of the royal family and foreign leaders including the actress Elizabeth Taylor and the Chilean dictator. General Augusto Pinochet. John F. Kennedy was a patient at the hospital in 1947 when doctors diagnosed him with Addison's disease.

Catherine spent nearly two weeks in hospital, during which time she was visited by King Charles III, who at the same time was undergoing treatment for an enlarged prostate. After his release, Buckingham Palace revealed that doctors had discovered an undiagnosed cancer during his operation.

The palace jealously guarded Catherine's privacy during her stay. There are no pictures of her children visiting her at the hospital in London's Marylebone neighborhood, and only one shot of William at the wheel of a car outside after a visit.

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On the day of his release, the palace said, “The Prince and Princess would like to extend a huge thank you to the entire team at the London Clinic, particularly the dedicated nursing staff, for the care they provided.”

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