3 Hospital Staffers 'Investigated' Over Alleged Breach of Kate Middleton's Medical Records

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A watchdog in the U.K. has launched a probe following a reported breach of privacy regarding Kate Middleton's hospital notes. The Princess of Wales is pictured here in Nov. 2023. Credit - Samir Hussein—Getty Images

The London Clinic, the world-renowned hospital that is known for treating members of the royal family along with other high-profile individuals, has launched an investigation into a potential violation of hospital privacy law, amid reports that “up to three members” of staff were caught trying to view Kate Middleton’s private medical records, per The Mirror.

The breach was revealed to have taken place after the Princess was discharged from the hospital on Jan. 29.

A spokesperson for the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), a British privacy watchdog, told TIME that they have received a report and are investigating. “We can confirm that we have received a breach report and are assessing the information provided,” they said over email.

It can be a criminal offense in the U.K. for NHS staff or healthcare professionals to view a person’s private medical records without permission from the data controller. Last year, the ICO successfully prosecuted a medical secretary for accessing the records of over 156 people without their consent.

King Charles III received treatment for an enlarged prostate at The London Clinic in January. It's understood that His Majesty's medical records were not compromised.

In a statement shared with TIME and posted on The London Clinic’s website on Wednesday, March 20, Al Russell, the CEO of The London Clinic said that the hospital will investigate and discipline anyone caught breaching privacy law.

Police officers stand outside The London Clinic on Jan. 26, 2024. The private hospital is where the Princess of Wales had her surgery. <span class="copyright">Vuk Valcic—Getty Images</span>
Police officers stand outside The London Clinic on Jan. 26, 2024. The private hospital is where the Princess of Wales had her surgery. Vuk Valcic—Getty Images

“Everyone at The London Clinic is acutely aware of our individual, professional, ethical and legal duties with regards to patient confidentiality. We take enormous pride in the outstanding care and discretion we aim to deliver for all our patients that put their trust in us every day,” the London Clinic’s CEO, Al Russell, said in a statement. “We have systems in place to monitor management of patient information and, in the case of any breach, 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.”

According to The Mirror, senior hospital bosses from The London Clinic immediately contacted Kensington Palace to report the privacy breach, after “at least one member of staff” was caught trying to access the Princess of Wales’ records.

TIME has reached out to Kensington Palace for comment and is awaiting a response.

The news comes after Princess Kate checked into the hospital for a “planned abdominal surgery” in January. A statement issued from Kensington Palace on Jan. 17 said “she is unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter.”

The Princess of Wales’ lack of public presence has prompted numerous conspiracies, especially after a doctored image of Kate and her three children was posted on social media, leading to Kate issuing an apology for “any confusion” caused by the image she admitted to editing. The Princess has since been spotted alongside her husband Prince William at a farm shop in Windsor.

Contact us at letters@time.com.