Kate Middleton planning comeback to shut down conspiracy theories: expert

Kate Middleton is gearing up for a major comeback.

Kensington Palace has a top-secret plan in the works for the royal’s official return to the spotlight, U.K.’s Mirror recently reported. According to the outlet, several publicity bigwigs have been tapped to consult on the transition following the mother of three’s health woes and photo backlash.

“Easter is early this year, and if the palace is smart, they will urge Kate to join the rest of the royal family for their traditional Easter Sunday services at Windsor,” Christopher Andersen, author of “The King,” told Fox News Digital.


Catherine, Princess of Wales, attends the traditional Easter Sunday Mattins Service at St. Georges Chapel, Windsor Castle, on April 9, 2023, in Windsor, England. (Max Mumby/Indigo)

“Originally, Kate was aiming for a mid-April return to public life,” he said. “If she fails to show up on March 31 – or ideally even sooner – that will trigger a new avalanche of conspiracy theories. It’s a no-brainer – a simple and easy way to begin reclaiming the public’s trust.”

In January, Kensington Palace announced that the Princess of Wales had unspecified abdominal surgery and would be out of sight for weeks. The news quickly triggered speculation and gossip about her health. However, an admission from the 42-year-old that she altered an official family photo – one that was supposed to reassure the public that she was doing well – made things worse.

It’s a rare misstep for the princess, who has hardly put a foot wrong in her journey from Prince William’s shy “commoner” girlfriend to the glamorous young mother of three who, more than any royal since Princess Diana, boosted the popularity and appeal of the British monarchy worldwide.

Another photo taken by the princess, which showed the late Queen Elizabeth II surrounded by 10 of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren in Balmoral, has also come under fire.

The photo was released by Kensington Palace on what would have been the late monarch’s 97th birthday in April 2023. The queen died in September 2022.

A Getty Images spokesperson told Fox News Digital on Tuesday, “Getty Images is undertaking a review of handout images and, in accordance with its editorial policy, is placing an editor’s note on images where the source has suggested they could be digitally enhanced.”


AP News issued a “photo kill” notice on a picture of Kate Middleton and her children she released to the public. (AP News)

Getty Images added an editors’ note to its website, cautioning clients that the image was “digitally enhanced at source.”

“There’s no comment from Kensington Palace,” a representative told Fox News Digital regarding the situation.

The princess is known for photographing the official birthday portraits of her children. In 2020, she participated in a project in which she photographed Holocaust survivors with their grandchildren. In 2022, she shot a portrait of Queen Camilla for the British magazine Country Life. She has described herself as an “amateur photographer.”

Kensington Palace announced in January that Kate Middleton had abdominal surgery at The London Clinic for undisclosed reasons. (Vuk Valcic/SOPA Images/LightRocket)

“It is a great pity that PR professionals at Kensington Palace let this debacle occur,” British royals expert Hilary Fordwich told Fox News Digital. “On the contrary, they should have led the narrative. But that isn’t easy in this day and age. Given the recent security breach regarding her medical records, the pressure on Kate and the palace is intense. Leaks have spiraled out of control and given more flame to fires of speculation.”

“The resulting chaos has created unprecedented problems of perception, as well as a loss of stature, being damaging to the royal image of excellence and propriety,” she said. “Unfortunately at this juncture, despite wanting more privacy, the global firestorm and social media frenzy can only be quelled via a proper statement regarding the situation, which would go a long way to ameliorate further speculation.”

Two former aides known for being “well-established public relations experts” were consulted by the team tasked with creating Middleton’s schedule, The Mirror reported. According to the outlet, her new private secretary, Lt. Col. Tom White, is also involved with her comeback, along with William’s new private secretary, former diplomat Ian Patrick.

Kate Middleton is seen here performing a curtsy to Queen Elizabeth II as she attends Easter Day Service with her husband, Prince William, right, and Princess Beatrice of York at St. George’s Chapel on April 16, 2017, in Windsor, England. The queen, England’s longest-reigning monarch, died in 2022. (Samir Hussein/WireImage)

As she embarks on public duties, the princess may be compelled to openly address her health, reads the report.

Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams told Fox News Digital that, like Andersen, he wouldn’t be surprised if the public saw the princess join the rest of the royal family for the annual Easter Sunday Service at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor.

She is currently recuperating in Windsor.

“This would seem an ideal opportunity to make an official appearance in public for the first time since Christmas and have her children with her,” Fitzwilliams said. “It will be worldwide news. … The world will be watching.”

Prince Louis and his mother, Kate Middleton, are shown on the Buckingham Palace balcony during Trooping the Colour on June 17, 2023, in London. (Chris Jackson)

“[The palace is] taking great care not to list any proposed engagements,” Fitzwilliams said. “Her attendance at a rehearsal for Trooping the Colour was announced prematurely by the Ministry of Defense, and it was subsequently removed from the website. Later in the year, there will hopefully be a possibility of overseas tours. If King Charles is unable to attend CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting), which is held in Samoa in October, Prince William will undoubtedly stand in for him and, if Catherine is well enough, she will be with him and a tour of the Antipodes would be a possibility, depending on health issues.”

“The Prince and Princess of Wales were going on an official visit to Italy,” he continued. “When health matters permit, this will hopefully be rescheduled. With the Princess of Wales unwell and King Charles [battling cancer], it is a nightmarish time for royal planners.”

Royal expert Ian Pelham Turner told Fox News Digital that after her first official appearance, we can expect the princess to scale back her duties as she continues to prioritize her health.


Prince William, Prince of Wales, attends a Homewards Sheffield Local Coalition meeting at the Millennium Gallery on March 19, 2024, in Sheffield, England. The prince has been keeping busy with public duties as his wife recuperates from surgery. (Oli Scarff – WPA Pool)

“I feel Kate will reduce her diary to a few charitable events and perhaps Trooping the Colour as she is colonel in chief of the Irish Guards,” he said. “I believe Kate will divulge more details about her medical condition around Easter. … Surprising revelations may be announced.”

British broadcaster and photographer Helena Chard also told Fox News Digital that the princess is aware that all eyes will be on her, which leaves zero room for error this time around.

“[As] her team at Kensington Palace are planning her return with precision, I hope [there’s] more care and sensitivity,” said Chard. “The comeback master plan is being overseen by the fairly new private secretaries of the Prince and Princess of Wales. They are both former aides and, thankfully, have much-needed experience in public relations. They hope for a smooth transition for the Princess of Wales, especially as she has endured a huge amount of negative scrutiny.”

Kensington Palace previously announced that the Princess of Wales is expected to return to public duties sometime after Easter. (Max Mumby/Indigo)

“Luckily, the Princess of Wales is a tough cookie,” Chard said. “She is riding the media storm and looking forward to edging her way back into royal work. The good news is that a soft return means that we should see the Princess of Wales with her family on Easter Sunday. If you are lucky enough to be an honoree at an investiture, you could possibly be treated to the princess presenting you with your award and congratulating you on your insignia. She will … concentrate on her early year’s work, which is her life’s project.”

Chard also pointed out that with Middleton debuting a stylish look on Easter, the conversation will begin to steer away from “Photogate,” as some royal watchers have labeled the mishap.

“Once she does return to public life, Kate will almost certainly take it slow,” said Andersen. “She’s a huge asset for the royal family – that can’t be overstated. The future of the monarchy hinges on the popularity of William and Kate, period. That’s why it’s so critical for Kate to reclaim some of the public affection she’s undoubtedly lost as a result of this fiasco.”


Kate Middleton has been recuperating in Windsor. (Max Mumby/Getty Images)

“Privacy is one thing,” he said. “Secrecy is something else. The public resents being kept in the dark about Kate, who is someone they care about and have always rooted for.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Stephanie Nolasco covers entertainment at Foxnews.com.

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