Kate Middleton’s Team Is “Working Around the Clock” Preparing for Her Return to Royal Duties

“They all know that the world will be watching.”

Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The world is collectively preparing itself for the eventual return to royal duty of the Princess of Wales, likely sometime after her children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis return to school at Lambrook from Easter break on April 17.

And as the world prepares, so is Kate, who has reportedly hired a top team to “work around the clock” to prepare for her return to public life after spending all of 2024 essentially shrouded under the cover of secrecy following abdominal surgery on January 16. Kate wasn’t publicly seen for the entirety of January and February, and since March 4 has been seen publicly just three times, not counting, you know, social media

Kate Middleton

Kate's team is working nonstop to prepare for her return to royal life, likely next month

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Mirror reports that two former aides who have experience in public relations have been consulted about Kate’s comeback, and the pair are responsible for devising Kate’s schedule for when she feels well enough to return. Also, since Kate’s surgery, Lieutenant Colonel Tom White has joined the team as Kate’s private secretary, and The Sun reports that he is also tasked with handling Kate’s return-to-work plan as well. The outlet also adds that Prince William’s new private secretary, former diplomat Ian Patrick, is helping, too, working nonstop to come up with a plan that will provide the best comeback plan possible for the princess.

“They all know that the world will be watching after weeks of heightened speculation and often outlandish commentary on social media,” a source said.

Lieutenant Colonel Tom White

White, shown at left, previously worked for Queen Elizabeth

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Kate Middleton

Kate hasn't undertaken any royal engagements in 2024 as she recovers from surgery in January

(Image credit: Getty Images)

As the world watches, the Kensington Palace team is under “immense pressure” to pull this off, and The Mirror insinuates that William and Kate might be seeking the advice of their former communications chief Jason Knauf, who later became CEO of their charitable Royal Foundation. Knauf is now on the board of William’s Earthshot Prize and has been honored many times over for his work, including being named to King Charles’ first New Year Honours List in December 2022. He was named a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order for services to the family after working for both William and Kate, as well as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, before the two couples’ offices separated. Knauf is also somewhat of a controversial figure: in October 2018, “he emailed his concerns about William’s then-private secretary over allegations of bullying towards staff by the Duchess of Sussex,” The Mirror reports. Meghan’s team have strongly denied these allegations.

“There are ongoing conversations that involve the senior team at Kensington Palace and the communications team,” the source speaking to The Mirror said. “Naturally, conversations are had with former staffers as part of our continued operations.” 

Prince Louis and Kate Middleton

Kate's last royal engagement was on Christmas Day of last year, seen here

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Kate, of course, is also likely deeply involved in her back-to-work plan, but, lest we forget, she is still recovering from an apparently major operation in January. She “is more compliant, more eager to please,” royal expert Christopher Andersen said, per OK. “Among senior royals, she’s always been more of a ‘go along to get along’ type. One can’t help but feel she is being taken advantage of at a time when it has become increasingly clear that she is coping with a health matter that is more serious than we’ve been led to believe.”

Andersen added of her recent Mother’s Day photo controversy and subsequent apology for editing the picture of herself and her three kids, “My guess is Kate volunteered to issue a mea culpa statement, and her less-than-gallant handlers were happy to have her take the fall,” he said. “They probably thought that Kate’s apology would serve the dual purpose of explaining what was going on with that photograph and simultaneously reassuring people that she’s very much alive and well and aware of the public’s concern.”

In perhaps the understatement of the year, Andersen concluded that “Obviously, they didn’t think it through,” he said.

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.