Few late-night hosts have been as brutal on the royal family as John Oliver, who in Last Week Tonight’s November 2022 takedown of the monarchy referred to the Windsors as “a human appendix,” adding, “We’ve long evolved past needing them and there’s a compelling case for their surgical removal.”

It’s no surprise then that Oliver has addressed the drama surrounding Kate Middleton, whose absence from royal duties following a “planned abdominal surgery” has spawned full-on conspiracy theories about her whereabouts. “A certain someone’s Adobe free trial expired in a pretty public manner,” Oliver quipped on Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight, which otherwise largely focused on student loans. That joke referenced Middleton’s recent apology for altering a family photo released in honor of Mother’s Day in the UK. The photo, which was shot by Prince William, was removed from news agencies after it was revealed to have been manipulated. Middleton subsequently apologized in a statement: “Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing. I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused.”

Oliver first spoke out on the current Middleton controversy last week. When host Andy Cohen asked the British Oliver “What the fuck is going on with Kate Middleton?” on Tuesday’s episode of Watch What Happens Live, Oliver replied, “I was out. I thought, Let’s all just ignore this, we’ve moved on—until the Photoshop thing. It feels like you’re almost handling it badly in an impressive way at this point.”

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Cohen then asked, “Isn’t their motto, ‘Never complain. Never explain’?” to which Oliver joked, “There’s a nonzero chance she died 18 months ago. They might be Weekend at Bernie’s–ing this situation. Nonzero—I’m not saying it happened! I’m saying it’s nonzero until proved otherwise. Until you see her with a copy of the day’s newspaper.”

Oliver may be priming viewers for a deeper dive into what some have referred to as Kategate. Back in 2018, he tested some anti-royal takes on The Late Show, telling Stephen Colbert of Meghan Markle’s engagement to Prince Harry, “I don’t think you need to have just seen the pilot episode of The Crown to get a basic sense that she might be marrying into a family that could cause some emotional complications.” He later declared, “I mean, they’re an emotionally stunted group of fundamentally flawed people doing a very silly pseudo-job. That’s what she’s marrying into. So I hope she likes it. It’s going to be weird for her.” Considering how prescient that prediction turned out to be, the world awaits Oliver’s POV on the current royal scandal. 

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