Report of Kate Privacy Breach Is Being Assessed by U.K. Authorities

The British authorities said on Wednesday that they were investigating after a report that an employee had tried to obtain the private medical records of Catherine, Princess of Wales, at the London hospital where she underwent abdominal surgery in January.

The hospital, the London Clinic, a private institution with an elite clientele, has opened an investigation of the alleged breach, according to The Daily Mirror, a British tabloid, which first reported the matter on 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 breach report and are assessing the information provided.”

The Mirror said that the hospital had 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 spokesman for the palace said.

It is unclear whether the employee succeeded in gaining access to the files or in sharing them with anyone outside the hospital. But the allegations added 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 has been no informed reporting about the condition that prompted Catherine’s surgery. The palace has disclosed almost no details, saying in its initial statement that it was Catherine’s “wish that her personal medical information remains private.”

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