‘It’s like their Co-op’: Inside the farm shop at the centre of the Kate and William conspiracy whirlwind

Windsor Farm Shop became the unlikely centre of the world’s attention after a visit by Kate Middleton and Prince William - so Barney Davis went to see for himself

Thursday 21 March 2024 17:09 GMT
Windsor Farm Shop is open to the public - and the occasional royal shopper or two
Windsor Farm Shop is open to the public - and the occasional royal shopper or two (Barney Davis)

A farm shop that sells organic asparagus and pricey pate became the unlikely centre of a media storm this week.

The Prince and Princess of Wales were spotted, shopping bags in hand, in footage filmed by a passerby through his car window in Windsor on Saturday. It was the first time Kate had been seen on camera since she underwent surgery for undisclosed reasons in January.

The lack of information from the royals about her health has sent the unhealthier side of the internet into overdrive, with speculation and suspicion compounded by a previous admission that a family photo the princess had released on Mother’s Day had been doctored.

William and Kate were spotted at the shop at the weekend (file photo) (Getty Images)

Amateur sleuths and conspiracy theorists have been analysing the blurry clip like the notorious JFK Zapruder tape, comparing how Kate walks in heels at previous events, questioning whether she is either completely AI or a hired lookalike.

As new questions arose on Wednesday about Kate’s medical records, The Independent headed to the Windsor Farm Shop to try and separate fact from increasingly unhinged fiction.

On the way from the train station to the shop, six people in orange bibs fanned out across an open field. Were they litter pickers or volunteers looking for Kate?

The first woman turned out to be having a fag on her break as I asked if she was a regular at the farm shop.

“I wasn’t working that day”, she told me, stubbing her cigarette out aggressively on the country road. I asked if her colleagues saw Kate but she turned and walked away, completely silent.

Hospital Staff Tried To Access Kate Middleton's Medical Records

I headed in through the front gates to be greeted by two pensioners who meet at the farm shop to have a jacket potato every week and catch up on the gossip. There should be plenty to talk about this week.

“There is a lovely restaurant in there,” Sandra, 74, said. “William and Kate just blend in that’s the nature of who they are. They only live down the road so this is like their Co-Op for them. I’m sure they queue up and pay just like everyone else.”

Her friend interjected: “The coffee here is really good - try the bacon baps.”

Walking inside, you are immediately greeted by rows of flowers, somehow wilting on the first day of spring.

Handfuls of asparagus are on sale for £6, pots of Wild Boar pâté for £5 or you can pick up an entire skinned rabbit for under £20.

The shop is a popular shopping spot for locals (REUTERS)

Cantabrian Anchovies cost a tenner while a loaf of olive bread is £4.79. Kale - around 80p in Sainsbury’s - is a pricier £2.49 here. The cost of living like the royals, it would seem.

Inside, one shopper expressed his frustration at just missing out on the famous Windsor roast beef. “When you go to the supermarket the beef is cremated,” he explains, head bowed. “But here they do it like the French or the Italians, just the way I like it. It’s just seared.

“I will see you back here first thing tomorrow”, he barked at the worker, before turning to leave. Customers appear more concerned about their purchases than princes and princesses.

A strapping young butcher recommended the pork and herb sausages before visibly wilting when he saw my press card on the back of my phone.

“Which press are you a part of?” he asked, perhaps concerned he may become unwillingly caught up in the nation’s current obsession.

I asked him if the sausages are fit for a king .“Now that’s the only story you’re going to get out of me,” he replied.

I paid for my tea bags, chocolate honeycomb and biscuits for the office before continuing the hunt for anyone who might have seen our future Queen at the weekend.

Phil Appleton, 69, was busy tucking into a tuna sandwich with his dog Beth in the cafe huts, still decked out with Christmas decorations on the first day of spring.

The Mother’s Day photo that drew so much scrutiny (Prince of Wales/Kensington Palace/PA Wire)

“Who cares if it’s a double or not?” he said, referring to the dubious suggestion circulating on X that the Kate seen in the car park footage was not actually our Kate. “The AI deepfakes are not that good yet,” he continued. “People have to make their own minds up. There’s so much c***, fake stuff out there.. You have to believe what you want to believe. Social media is just a reflection of you whatever conspiracy theory you want to look for.

“I’m trying to focus on my life here with real things instead of living on social media. It is a form of madness, you start living in an alternative reality.”

It’s a refreshing thought. Phil soon returned to what brings most people to the farm shop; the food.

“The meat here is the real stuff,” he said. “The fruit I’m not so sure about.”

Finally, I find someone who said they were there on Saturday, even if they did not twig at the time. Kamal, 52, was at the Farm Shop at the same time as Kate but says he was too engrossed in his hot chocolate to realise.

The aviator-wearing customer, who says simply he “flies for a living”, added: “I was here on Saturday but I don’t follow the news and it was only on Sunday night I saw she was here. I’m not struck by royalty or celebrity I wouldn’t bat an eyelid. If I had seen her I would nod my head and carry on sipping my champagne.

“I’m in that world and have friends in that industry. If I’m having a bad day I could say ‘I’m sorry but I can’t speak right now’ but Kate has to be on duty 24/7.

“She had an operation and she should be allowed to have some ‘me’ time,” he continues. “I think it’s great they can come here.

“When you’re cocooned in this world I think you sign up to this attention. You can’t have your cake and eat it as much as you would like to.

“If I was in Russia or North Korea I wouldn’t believe the video but it could be a double. But am I bothered either way, no. They are just doing their job and that’s it.”

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