A general view of The London Clinic where Kate, Princess...

A general view of The London Clinic where Kate, Princess of Wales is recovering from surgery, in London, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024. A British privacy watchdog said Wednesday, March 20, 2024, it is looking into a report that staff at a private London hospital tried to access the Princess of Wales’ medical records while she was a patient for abdominal surgery. Credit: AP/Kin Cheung

LONDON — A British privacy watchdog said Wednesday it was investigating 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.”

The Daily Mirror newspaper reported that at least one staff member at the London Clinic tried to look at Kate’s notes during her stay there in January. The princess had surgery at the clinic in central London on Jan. 16 and was discharged almost two weeks later.

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

Al Russell, the hospital's chief executive, said Wednesday that “all appropriate investigatory, regulatory and disciplinary steps will be taken.”

“There is no place at our hospital for those who intentionally breach the trust of any of our patients or colleagues," he said in a statement.

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

Police officers stand guard outside The London Clinic where Kate,...

Police officers stand guard outside The London Clinic where Kate, Princess of Wales is recovering from surgery, in London, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024. A British privacy watchdog said Wednesday, March 20, 2024, it is looking into a report that staff at a private London hospital tried to access the Princess of Wales’ medical records while she was a patient for abdominal surgery. Credit: AP/Kin Cheung

“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.”

The clinic in London's Marylebone neighborhood, less than two miles (around three kilometers) from Buckingham Palace, has treated several members of the royal family over the decades. King Charles III spent a weekend there in January undergoing a procedure to treat an enlarged prostate. Soon after, the palace said that doctors had diagnosed the king with an unspecified form of cancer.

Charles, 75, was withdrawn from public duties while he has cancer treatment — a period that has coincided with Kate's disappearance from public view.

Police officers stand guard outside The London Clinic where Kate,...

Police officers stand guard outside The London Clinic where Kate, Princess of Wales is recovering from surgery, in London, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024. A British privacy watchdog said Wednesday, March 20, 2024, it is looking into a report that staff at a private London hospital tried to access the Princess of Wales’ medical records while she was a patient for abdominal surgery. Credit: AP/Kin Cheung

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

Even though that time hasn't yet 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 U.K. 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 issued a statement acknowledging that she liked to “experiment with editing” and apologizing for “any confusion” the photo had caused.

The gossip hasn't 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."

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