Operation Comeback Kate: Inside secret back-to-work plan for Princess's return to public life

19 March 2024, 11:13

High-level royal aides are planning Kate's return to royal duties after she was spotted at Windsor Farm Shop
High-level royal aides are planning Kate's return to royal duties after she was spotted at Windsor Farm Shop. Picture: social media/alamy

By StephenRigley

Kensington Palace is accelerating plans for Kate's return to royal duties now she has been seen visiting her favourite farm shop near Windsor.

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Aides believe the earlier she can be seen in public, the sooner it will put an end to the cruel rumours that have surrounded her health since she went into hospital for abdominal surgery in January.

A team featuring Kate and Prince William's closest aides, their communications team and former palace staff members are being consulted as part of the top secret project.

An insider told The Mirror: "The teams are working round the clock to devise the Princess of Wales's back-to-work plan after weeks of immense pressure.

"They all know that the world will be watching after weeks of heightened speculation and often outlandish commentary on social media."

Kate's Mother's Day picture which sparked a worldwide storm
Kate's Mother's Day picture which sparked a worldwide storm. Picture: social media

Read More: Smiling Kate spotted on shopping trip with William as she continues recovery from surgery

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The paper reports that two former aides, known for being “well-established public relations experts” have been consulted by the team. One of them is her new private secretary, Lt Col Tom White, who joined the royal team in January.

He previously served as an equerry to the late Queen Elizabeth II from November 2020 until her death in September 2022.

William's new private secretary, former diplomat Ian Patrick, who previously worked for former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown, is also part of the senior team.

Kate was seen shopping with Prince William at the busy and popular Windsor Farm Shop on Saturday.
Kate was seen shopping with Prince William at the busy and popular Windsor Farm Shop on Saturday. Picture: Alamy

Read More: 'Shaken' Kate and William may address Princess's health and release photo after social media rumours about marriage

Today, The Sun published footage of Kate at the Windsor Farm Shop walking quickly with a bag of shopping and chatting animatedly to her husband on Saturday afternoon.

One royal source told the Telegraph: "Finally everyone can calm down".

Kensington Palace has said the princess would not return to royal duties until after Easter.

Conversations have taken place for her to join her family and other senior royals at church on Easter Sunday.

Other reports have suggested Kate, 42, may not take part in any public engagements until after April 17, when her children go back to Lambrook School, near Ascot, Berkshire, following the holidays.

The plan follows the furore over the release by Kensington Palace of a edited of Kate and their three children to celebrate Mother’s Day.

Kate's last public appearance with William and their children at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Sandringham on Christmas Day, 2023
Kate's last public appearance with William and their children at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Sandringham on Christmas Day, 2023. Picture: Alamy

Read More: Kate Middleton lookalike says conspiracies about Princess of Wales have 'gone too far' and must stop

Kate confessed and apologised for editing the photograph after six of the world's biggest picture agencies deleted it from libraries, saying the picture had been “manipulated.”

Against the backdrop of the King's cancer diagnosis, the drama has created a febrile atmosphere of gossip and conjecture around the Royal Family.

Sources close to the Wales' have told the Mail they have found the speculation hugely hurtful and hard to deal with, but were determined to focus on what was important to them - their family and the princess' recovery.

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